Fourteen day quarantine could 'kill' UK tourism and travel, bosses warn

1 June 2020, 06:34

The proposed measures could come in from June 8
The proposed measures could come in from June 8. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A 14-day quarantine for those entering the UK will "kill" the travel industry aviation chiefs have reportedly warned the Government.

Aviation bosses urged the Government to rethink the plans to order all travellers entering the UK to isolate at a single address for two weeks.

They warned it was the equivalent of hanging up a “Britain is closed” sign suggesting it could further damage the economic recovery of the country and end up costing thousands of jobs in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

They were joined in their opposition by tourism bodies and politicians.

More than 200 travel and hospitality businesses have joined a campaign urging the Government to overturn its planned 14-day quarantine for arrivals into the UK.

The group of major hotels, travel companies and restaurateurs claim the policy is "unworkable" and have endorsed a letter sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel.

They are calling for air bridges to be created which enable people to travel - without being quarantined - between countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low.

Current plans would mean all international arrivals - apart from people carrying out a limited number of specified roles - would need to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8.

Under proposals by Home Secretary Priti Patel from June 8, all travellers to Britain, including Britons returning home, will be forced to spend two weeks isolating at a single address even if they have come from countries with few coronavirus infections.

Arrivals will have to reveal where they will be staying and anyone not complying faces a fine of up to £1,000.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that the regulations could come before MPs as early as Tuesday.

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Simon McNamara of the International Air Transport Association said the lifting of coronavirus measures will do nothing to help people travel if a mandatory two-week quarantine is in place.

"All the evidence we have is that this will just kill travel," Mr McNamara told The Times.

"If (governments) persist with quarantine it is effectively the same as locking down your country."

Tim Alderslade of Airlines UK also spoke to the paper, calling the quarantine "just about the worst thing (the Government) could do ... to restart the economy and get aviation and tourism moving again."

Meanwhile, there are reports that a host of senior MPs are also unhappy with the plan in its current form.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Conservative chairman of the transport select committee Huw Merriman called for the blanket quarantine to be "ditched" in favour of other measures such as "air-bridges, compulsory PPE and temperature testing at airports".

Former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers also called for a rethink on Sunday, telling BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour: "I would very much prefer the quarantine rules ... be targeted on flights from Covid hotspots.

"I think we really do need to find ways to ease travel between this country and other countries like Italy and Spain and France where not only are there important business connections but people do desperately want to be able to take their summer holiday.

"So I appreciate why the Government is bringing in quarantine but I do think that applying it in a blanket way across the board is an over-reaction. And my understanding is that the government is actively looking at air bridges and to try to target this requirement in a more focused way and I really hope they're able to do that rather than bringing it in across the board."