EasyJet chief condemns PM's Covid travel policy as it 'does not follow science'

28 July 2021, 09:45

EasyJet chief calls for 'amber plus' list to be axed as it 'does not follow science'
EasyJet chief calls for 'amber plus' list to be axed as it 'does not follow science'. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Fiona Jones

EasyJet chief Johan Lungren condemned the Government's Covid travel policy, branding the amber plus list as being based on something other than data and science.

It comes as the Government is set to open England's borders to allow double-jabbed US and EU travellers to enter without quarantine, according to reports.

The Prime Minister told LBC in an exclusive interview that the US is a "massively important partner" for the UK, so they want people to be able to travel as freely as possible.

He told Nick Ferrari: "We want people to be able to come from the US freely in a way that they normally do. We’re talking to them the whole time."At the moment we’re dealing with a Delta wave, the US is dealing with a Delta wave, but be assured that we are on it the whole time. As soon as we have something to say about travel corridors you’ll be hearing from us."

EasyJet chief Johan Lungren hailed this decision as "the right thing to be done" albeit "too late."

Mr Lungren told LBC's Nick Ferrari that it is "very easy" to travel between European countries.

"I want this to happen in the UK because it should and it could...if you're double-vaccinated there are no restrictions at all in many places, you don't need to provide unnecessary PCR testing and in some cases where they do have testing in place, they will satisfy themselves with the lateral flow test.

"There are many companies and businesses that need to go where the business action's taking place, and that is now unfortunately taking place for us more outside the UK for no good reason at all."

Mr Lungren had further critique for the Government's "amber plus" list which could see more countries added; unlike the amber list, those arriving in England from 'amber plus' list countries will need to quarantine for 10 days at home or in other accommodation, even if they are fully vaccinated against Covid.

The amber plus list was first introduced for France, due to growing concerns over the number of Beta variant Covid cases.

Nick Ferrari asked the aviation chief whether this new list was an example of UK's PM "playing politics", to which Mr Lungren replied, "Something was being played but it was not following data or science, that's for sure.

"UK still sits among the highest in the world: 740 cases, last time I looked, per 100,000. France would be down at the 100 levels and Beta cases, they represent now less than 2.5%.

"I think that has to go very rapidly and it should never have been introduced."

Read more: Restrictions on travel from France 'set to be dropped next week'

Which countries could be added to the 'amber plus' list?

Spain and Greece are the two countries at the biggest risk of being downgraded to 'amber plus' during the next review.

It comes as cases continue to rise rapidly in those countries, with Spain seeing around 377 cases per 100,000 people and Greece is seeing 170 per 100,000.

However, such a move would cause chaos for travellers, with Labour Party figures estimating that almost six million could face having their holidays ruined.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The travel list allocations have not changed for Spain or Greece.

"We are closely monitoring the data and will take swift action on travel list allocations and international travel requirements should the data show that countries’ risk to England has changed.

"Other potential countries being moved to 'amber plus' include Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.