Paris (AFP)

"I expected it, but there, it is very sudden": the travelers crowded Friday on the boarding platform of the Eurostar, Gare du Nord in Paris, on the eve of the establishment of a new quarantine desired by the United Kingdom for travelers arriving from France.

“No, I can't answer the questions, I'm in mega stress, sorry!” Says a mother with an English accent.

The announcement, which fell in the middle of the night, took everyone by surprise: travelers arriving from France to the United Kingdom will have to observe from Saturday a quarantine of two weeks, said Thursday the British government, immediately attracting the promise of a "reciprocity measure" on the part of Paris.

Cameron Kenneally, wide glasses and colored hair, had to cut short his visit to France. "I travel a lot in France because my boyfriend is French. I had to change my tickets at the last moment."

He is relieved to have been able to exchange his ticket because for him he cannot afford to be in quarantine, he explains. "My job only allows me to take a week's vacation at a time. I don't think we will meet again until September or October ..."

"I expected it, but there, it is very sudden. It came suddenly, in less than 48 hours", wonders William Robertson, young man with impeccable French came to see his parents living in the 'Hexagon.

"It's annoying, but it's justified. It was just complicated to take places yesterday on the Eurostar site, everyone was connected at the same time," he adds.

If the measure does not surprise, it is the way in which it is implemented that challenges. For Sacha Wellborn, tall bearded, British passport in hand, "we understand the measure but it seems improvised."

- "Pass between the drops" -

Louisa McMillan and Phoenix Okeefe, two young women sipping their iced coffees, agree: "We expected it but we thought it would happen in a few weeks. We're lucky our train is leaving today."

"The government had to do it," said Kerlsey Strain, tapping on her smartphone. "The announcements are pretty scary, I thought the station would be crowded. I sure won't be back soon!"

On the side of the French who go across the Channel, some were not even aware of the measure and for everyone it is the great uncertainty since France has not yet announced the date of entry into force of quarantine.

"I'm afraid to be fourteen (sic), but I did not think too much about it", admits Neal Babaci, who did not want to give up his London weekend.

Same observation of Sydney Louemba taken by surprise: "We are afraid to re-define ourselves", he sighs, looking at the departing trains. "We don't have any info. Maybe we can do the quarantine at home, luckily we have no problem working from home."

"I have to come back from England on Monday morning, I think I can pass between the drops," hopes Alexandre Libaud, in his twenties.

© 2020 AFP