Matt Hancock urged Britons not to give up hope of taking a holiday abroad this summer, despite the strict quarantine measures the Governments has imposed. The Health Secretary raised hopes of a foreign summer holiday for Britons but urged “caution” over a second wave of coronavirus. The Government’s quarantine plans will come into force tomorrow and will ask travellers to the UK to isolate for 14 days or risk an £1000 fine.
Questioned about the possibility of summer holidays abroad, Mr Hancock said he “really hopes people are going to be able to fly to go on summer holiday, but we’ve got to take an approach that starts with caution”.
He added: “We’re bringing in the quarantine policy again because as the number of new infections comes down, so the proportion of infections that come from abroad increases, simply because the number of new infections domestically is coming right down.”
Freight arrivals and those incoming from Ireland are set to be exempt from the quarantine measures.
Upon arrival, passengers will be required to fill out a form providing their address and phone number and could face prosecution and hefty fines if they refuse to comply.
Matt Hancock urged Britons not to give up hope of taking a holiday abroad this summer
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Home Secretary Priti Patel has insisted the rule is “backed by the science” and is “essential” to save lives.
However, the plan has been largely criticised by aviation chiefs, with some pointing out that the rules are “full of loopholes”.
Quash Quarantine, a group of 500 travel companies that accounts for more than £10billion of sales in the industry, has called the policy “rushed and unworkable”.
Paul Charles, co-leader of the campaign and chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “There are more holes than in a sieve in this unworkable, poorly-thought and economically damaging Government policy.”
Ministers are considering eventually replacing the strict quarantine rules with a plan for reciprocal waiving of quarantine arrangements
In the latest blow, British Airways has launched legal action against the Government over what it calls the “unlawful” quarantine.
The chief executive of the troubled airline’s parent company IAG Willie Walsh described the Government’s quarantine policy as “irrational”.
He warned it has “torpedoed our opportunity to get flying in July”.
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The Government’s quarantine plans will come into force tomorrow and will ask travellers to the UK to isolate for 14 days or risk an £1000 fine
Some Tory MPs have also come out against the measure, fearing it will “ground the entire aviation industry”.
Dr Liam Fox said: “I’m afraid I simply cannot get my head around the public health mental gymnastics of this policy.”
Ministers are considering eventually replacing the strict quarantine rules with a plan for reciprocal waiving of quarantine arrangements with countries that have low infection rates at the earliest opportunity.