Hope for Bri­tons in new quar­an­tine regime

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Ja­son Groves, David Churchill and Tom Payne

VIRUS pass­ports and travel cor­ri­dors could al­low fam­i­lies to travel abroad this sum­mer. a quar­an­tine regime will be in­tro­duced on June 8 re­quir­ing ar­rivals to the UK to self-iso­late for 14 days. But min­is­ters hope to strike quar­an­tine-free pacts with sum­mer des­ti­na­tions – such as France, spain and Greece – by au­gust and pos­si­bly July.

They are also ex­am­in­ing the idea of ‘Covid pass­ports’ to let those who have had the disease travel more widely and with­out hav­ing to go into

quar­an­tine on their re­turn. The new bor­der regime will ap­ply to al­most all ar­rivals, in­clud­ing in­com­ing Bri­tons. Rule break­ers face fines of £1,000.

Home Sec­re­tary Priti Pa­tel said quar­an­tine was vi­tal to pre­vent new cases of coro­n­avirus be­ing brought in from abroad.

But the pol­icy was crit­i­cised by the avi­a­tion and tourism sec­tors, the wider busi­ness com­mu­nity and even some Tory MPs.

They ques­tioned why the re­stric­tions were not in­tro­duced in Fe­bru­ary and March when the virus was com­ing into the coun­try from China, Italy and Spain.

Tim Alder­slade, of the in­dus­try group Air­lines UK, said: ‘All a blan­ket quar­an­tine will do is shut down avi­a­tion and the travel in­dus­try.

‘We need to be much more tar­geted and risk-based, open­ing up travel cor­ri­dors with low-risk coun­tries that more ef­fec­tively achieves our pub­lic health ob­jec­tives while en­abling peo­ple to get away this sum­mer.’

Adam Mar­shall, of the Bri­tish Cham­bers of Com­merce, said blan­ket re­stric­tions would ‘dam­age in­ter­na­tional busi­ness and in­vestor con­fi­dence at a time when it is vi­tal to demon­strate that the UK can open for busi­ness safely’.

Lim­ited quar­an­tine ex­emp­tions will be al­lowed for truck driv­ers, sea­sonal fruit pick­ers and a small num­ber of essential work­ers.

The rules, which will be re­viewed ev­ery three weeks and do not ap­ply to Ireland, came as:

It emerged London could lead the way out of lock­down, with talks next week on let­ting cafes and restau­rants open for out­door ser­vice;

An ex­clu­sive Mail poll sug­gested em­ploy­ees do not want to go back into work be­cause they fear the lock­down is be­ing eased too quickly;

Health of­fi­cials sug­gested that the two-me­tre rule could be eased;

A row broke out over the of­fi­cial ad­vice from Gov­ern­ment sci­en­tists about the re­open­ing of schools;

The coun­try’s top obe­sity and di­a­betes doc­tor said fam­i­lies were likely to have piled on weight in the lock­down;

Of­fi­cial fig­ures showed gov­ern­ment bor­row­ing hit £62bil­lion last month – al­most as much as the fig­ure for the whole of last year;

Sci­en­tists hit out at the of­fi­cial re­sponse to the pan­demic, sug­gest­ing the lock­down de­lay may have cost lives;

Coun­cil bosses and po­lice forces be­gan tak­ing dras­tic mea­sures to keep hol­i­day­mak­ers away from beauty spots over the bank hol­i­day;

The leader of the NHS sug­gested it could fill thou­sands of va­can­cies by re­train­ing staff from trou­bled in­dus­tries such as air­lines;

The test­ing tsar said thou­sands of kits posted to homes have not been re­turned;

White­hall sources claimed Trans­port Sec­re­tary Grant Shapps had fought to keep alive the idea of air bridges and travel cor­ri­dors, which were ini­tially re­sisted by Miss

Pa­tel who last night said the ad­vice was not to book hol­i­days now. But Mr Shapps has al­ready set up a work­ing group to con­sider how travel cor­ri­dors could be es­tab­lished in time for the sum­mer break.

Min­is­ters are also ex­am­in­ing whether those who have had coro­n­avirus could be ex­empted from quar­an­tine.

Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock re­vealed on Thurs­day that Bri­tain has pur­chased 10mil­lion an­ti­body tests that can tell whether an in­di­vid­ual has had the virus.

A spokesman for the As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish Travel Agents said quar­an­tine would ‘have a hugely dam­ag­ing im­pact on the UK in­bound and out­bound tourism in­dus­tries’.

A spokesman for Ryanair said the air­line was ‘strongly op­posed to in­ef­fec­tive non­sci­en­tific mea­sures’.

For­mer Brexit sec­re­tary David Davis said it was ‘very, very dif­fi­cult to see how this is ac­tu­ally ef­fec­tive or cost-ef­fec­tive or bal­anced’.

Min­is­ters fear­ful of a Tory re­bel­lion over the is­sue have drawn up the new reg­u­la­tions in a way that means they will not need to hold a vote in the House of Com­mons.

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