Airlines UK has called for urgent changes to the “broad-brush” approach which has resulted in France, Malta and Netherlands being added to the UK’s travel quarantine list.
The move has led to chaos for the travel plans of hundreds and thousands of Britons. The quarantine measures will come into effect from 4am tomorrow morning. The list of countries affected also includes Monaco, Turks & Caicos and Aruba.
Announcing the move, which will result in travellers returning from affected countries having to self-isolate for 14 days, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’ve absolutely worked so hard to ensure that we’re keeping our numbers down here, and we can’t afford to reimport those cases from elsewhere.”
“We’ve got to a point with France in particular, and these other countries, where if we didn’t announce it now, we would know that the infection rate was already too high and we were not doing anything about it,” he added.
UK taking “absolutely ruthless” approach to controlling virus
Shapps said the decision to add France to the list came after the country had reported a 66 per cent increase in the number of positive tests for COVID-19 in the past week. The French health ministry reported 2,524 new infections on Wednesday
The move was announced hours after prime minister Boris Johnson said the UK would be “absolutely ruthless” in deciding whether to impose further restrictions in addition to those already in place for travellers from Belgium and Spain.
Industry reeling from “worst crisis in its history”
A statement issued on behalf of trade body Airlines UK called for a more focused approach with a greater emphasis on testing to avoid travel disruption: “It’s another devastating blow to the travel industry already reeling from the worst crisis in its history. Having the political will to move to a sub-national approach to quarantine, in addition to a testing regime for arriving passengers so that those testing negative can avoid having to self isolate – which other countries like Germany have already implemented – is urgently needed to provide carriers and customers with additional certainty around the ability to operate this autumn and winter, avoiding broad-brush, weekly ‘stop and go’ changes to travel corridors at a national level, which have proven so disruptive to airlines and passengers alike.”