Quarantine ‘the wrong policy at the worst possible time' with ‘huge numbers of jobs at risk'
The introduction of a 14-day quarantine in the UK has been described as "the wrong policy at the worst possible time" with "huge numbers of jobs at risk".
Speaking in Parliament today, Huw Merriman (pictured), chair of the transport select committee, described it as "the wrong policy at the worst possible time for the aviation sector and the economy"; while MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle called on the home secretary to publish the scientific advice around quarantine "before she destroys our hospitality sector".
Meanwhile, shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the policy had "widespread implications for the economy, particularly aviation, hospitality and tourism" and "huge numbers of jobs are at risk".
Home secretary Priti Patel announced the introduction of a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals to the UK from 8 June last month, a move which has been described as "devastating" for the already hard-hit tourism industry.
A growing number of politicians and more than 200 travel and hospitality companies have called on the government to pursue alternatives to the "blanket" quarantine.
Patel said in parliament that it was not her intention "to destroy any sectors of our country or our economy", that the government was taking into account the impact such measures have on the economy, and that it was working closely with businesses.
She confirmed that the measures would be "temporary" and a "time-limited approach", which would be assessed, like lockdown restrictions, every three weeks, meaning that the quarantine would be reviewed the week starting 29 June. She also confirmed that "all options for future safe travel" were being explored, including ‘air bridges'.
Portugal's foreign minister told the BBC this morning that anyone in the UK thinking of going to Portugal this summer will be "most welcome", and that he hoped an air bridge between the UK and Portugal could be secured by the end of June.
The French foreign ministry announced a reciprocal 14-day quarantine period last month once the UK's quarantine comes into force. While Germany plans to lift its travel restrictions for European countries from 15 June, the BBC has reported that it will continue to advise against travel to Britain for as long as the UK government continues to demand a 14-day quarantine for new arrivals.
MPs and 200 industry leaders oppose 14-day quarantine plan >>
Quarantine requirement for international arrivals 'catastrophic' for tourism >>