The government’s 14-day quarantine rules for all UK visitors came into effect this week. As a result, the airline and tourism industries have threatened to sue the government in response. The quarantine applies to everyone, with possible £1,000 fines being given.
Airlines threaten legal action
A number of airlines say they are considering legal action. British Airways, Easy Jet and Ryanair have all said the quarantine was created without their input. Chief Executive of IAG, British Airways’ owning group, Willie Walsh said the move destroyed any hopes of an early recovery. He stated, “We think it is irrational and disproportionate, we are giving consideration to a legal challenge.”
Flights to go ahead regardless?
This fear is widespread. Easy Jet’s CEO has warned the quarantine will, “Likely lead to more job losses” if it remains in place. This follows the announcement that the airline will cut 30% of its workforce. Meanwhile, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary went further. He told the BBC Radio 4 that he will not cancel flights. He stated, “British people are ignoring this quarantine. They know it’s rubbish.”
Mirroring these views, a number of different unions and sectors, including tourism, have begun to publicly come out against the measures. These include ABTA, the Institute of Travel and Tourism and the National Farmers Union (NFU). The NFU in particular claim the 2-week quarantine will make it nearly impossible for their seasonal overseas workforces to work, putting crops and food supply at risk.
Quarantine is keeping people safe
Insisting the quarantine is based solely on scientific evidence, a government spokesperson spoke to the BBC earlier in the week. The spokesperson said, “These cross-government public health measures are designed to keep the transmission rate down, stop new cases being brought in from abroad and help prevent a devastating second wave of coronavirus.” The spokesperson went on to add that the government would continue to monitor the situation and makes changes accordingly but refused to give a timescale or any further details regarding this.
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