Daily Mail

New chaos as Wales and Scot­land quar­an­tine trav­ellers from Greece

- By Tom Payne and Izzy Fer­ris Business · European Politics · Politics · Scotland · Greece · City of Westminster · United Kingdom Department for Transport · Department for Transport · England · London Heathrow Airport · United Kingdom · Grant Shapps · British Airways · International Airlines Group · Portugal · United Kingdom Department of Health · Department of Health and Social Care · Humza Yousaf · Wagamama

HOL­I­DAY­MAK­ERS faced fresh chaos last night after Scot­land and Wales an­nounced plans to quar­an­tine ar­rivals from Greece – de­spite West­min­ster in­sist­ing the coun­try is safe.

The Scot­tish and Welsh gov­ern­ments said ac­tion was nec­es­sary fol­low­ing a sig­nif­i­cant rise in coro­n­avirus cases im­ported from the Mediterran­ean coun­try. How­ever, the Depart­ment for Trans­port said trav­ellers from Eng­land would not have to self-iso­late for 14 days be­cause Greece is on the ‘green’ list of safe coun­tries. Data shows the num­ber of in­fec­tions in the coun­try over seven days is 14 per 100,000 res­i­dents. The Government’s cut-off is said to be 20. Mean­while, Scot­land’s jus­tice sec­re­tary Humza Yousaf last night said quar­an­tine­free travel from Greece poses a ‘sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic health risk’. It comes as travel bosses have crit­i­cised the Government’s in­ac­tion on air­port test­ing last night as min­is­ters came un­der pres­sure to ditch the quar­an­tine rules. Amid mount­ing fury at the lack of help for the cri­sis-hit avi­a­tion in­dus­try, Heathrow Air­port said

‘UK has hung up the Closed sign’

Trans­port Sec­re­tary Grant Shapps had not vis­ited their Covid-19 test­ing fa­cil­ity – or even asked to see it.

In­dus­try bosses are con­cerned Down­ing Street ap­pears to be ‘un­in­ter­ested’ in fast-track­ing plans for an air­port test­ing regime that could help res­cue the econ­omy and save hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs.

They are calling on the Trans­port Sec­re­tary to make a pub­lic show of sup­port with an of­fi­cial min­is­te­rial visit to an air­port – some­thing that has not hap­pened dur­ing the cri­sis.

Yes­ter­day Wil­lie Walsh, boss of Bri­tish Air­ways’ par­ent com­pany IAG, warned fail­ure to in­tro­duce air­port test­ing could plunge the coun­try into eco­nomic ruin.

Writ­ing in The Times, he said: ‘Bri­tain’s econ­omy is pow­ered by our in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tiv­ity and the ease with which we do busi­ness with other coun­tries. This is be­ing de­stroyed by the Government’s blan­ket quar­an­tine on travel from a stag­ger­ing 160 coun­tries. The UK has of­fi­cially hung up the “Closed” sign.’

Min­is­ters said they are open to air­port test­ing but lit­tle ac­tion has been taken. In July, Mr Shapps said he was work­ing with Heathrow and avi­a­tion lo­gis­tics firms Collinson and Swis­s­port on test­ing tri­als which could lead to the 14- day quar­an­tine rule be­ing scrapped.

But in­dus­try in­sid­ers are con­cerned at the min­is­ter’s ap­par­ent lack of en­thu­si­asm for the idea.

A source told the Mail: ‘While Down­ing Street have been happy to pa­rade the Prime Min­is­ter through West­field and the Chan­cel­lor around a Waga­mama restau­rant, min­is­ters have been con­spic­u­ously ab­sent from air­ports.

‘Shapps has said he will work with air­ports on test­ing. But de­spite this, there has been a near-to­tal lack of help for our in­dus­try.’

The Depart­ment for Trans­port in­sists it has of­fered ‘ex­ten­sive fi­nan­cial sup­port to help the avi­a­tion sec­tor’. But this has been dis­missed by in­dus­try bosses.

A spokesman for Heathrow said: ‘No se­ri­ous Government can ground avi­a­tion dur­ing a re­ces­sion and it is now in the hands of cen­tral Government to get a han­dle on this once and for all.’

It came as min­is­ters pre­pared to re-add Por­tu­gal to the ‘red’ list of coun­tries from which ar­rivals must self-iso­late. The rules will re­port­edly be re­in­stated from Satur­day morn­ing fol­low­ing a sharp rise in cases.

An es­ti­mated 75,000 Bri­tons now face a dash to flee Por­tu­gal. But lim­ited ca­pac­ity on flights home means some could get stuck there.

A Depart­ment of Health spokesman said: ‘ Work is on­go­ing with clin­i­cians, the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions and the travel in­dus­try to con­sider if and how test­ing could be used to re­duce the self-iso­la­tion pe­riod.’

And a Depart­ment for Trans­port spokesman said: ‘ The Government recog­nises the im­pact coro­n­avirus is hav­ing on the econ­omy and work­ers, and has put to­gether an ex­ten­sive pack­age of fi­nan­cial sup­port to help the avi­a­tion sec­tor.’

 ??  ?? Hol­i­day con­fu­sion: There’s been a sharp rise in virus cases in Greece
Hol­i­day con­fu­sion: There’s been a sharp rise in virus cases in Greece

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