Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has hit out at Britain’s new quarantine measures as ‘designed by Dominic Cummings, for Dominic Cummings’ and said the plans will cause ‘untold damage’ to the tourism industry.
Starting next Monday, everyone coming to the UK by plane, rail or sea must provide an address and self-isolate for two weeks, with spot checks from officials. Some limited exceptions will be made for lorry drivers and NHS workers.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has insisted that the 14-day quarantine for people arriving in the country was ‘essential to save lives’.
But Ryanair boss Mr O’Leary is among a growing number of business leaders hitting out at the Government’s plans.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: ‘You don’t have a quarantine, people are going to be allowed to come next week through Heathrow and Gatwick, they then get on the London Underground, the trains, the buses, the taxis, to get to their destination.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said the new quarantine measures would cause ‘untold damage’ to British tourism
‘This is a quarantine designed by Dominic Cummings for Dominic Cummings, who as we all know, doesn’t observe quarantine,’ Mr O’Leary said, alluding to the row over the top aide’s trip to Durham at the start of lockdown. Pictured is Mr Cummings outside Downing Street today
‘They can stop off in the supermarkets, they can play a round of golf, there is no quarantine.’
Mr O’Leary said the form for quarantine was not even available yet on the Government website for travellers to fill in.
How will the 14-day quarantine system work in the UK?
Home Secretary Priti Patel has insisted that a 14-day quarantine for people arriving in Britain was ‘essential to save lives’
The 14-day quarantine rule is set to come into force on Monday, with the next review not due to happen until the end of the month.
With only very limited exceptions for lorry drivers and NHS workers, everyone coming to the country by plane, rail or sea will be ordered to give an address and self-isolate for two weeks, with spot checks from officials.
The spot checks are to be carried out on the phone, causing some to raise concerns that people could trick officials even if they were out playing golf or on the beach.
‘In the unlikely event you are actually called by someone from track and tracing, you could be on a golf course, you could be on a beach, you could be in the supermarket, saying ”yes, I am complying fully, I am sitting at home quarantining”.
‘This is a quarantine designed by Dominic Cummings for Dominic Cummings, who as we all know, doesn’t observe quarantine.’
He added that ‘most countries in Europe’ have a lower ‘rate of coronavirus’ than Britain, meaning the quarantine would be ‘completely ineffective, even if you did trap people in the airport’.
The Ryanair chief said the move would cause ‘untold damage’ to British tourism, and the new restriction was coming at a time when other European countries were loosening their lockdowns.
He continued: ‘We don’t understand, as an industry, why the British Government doesn’t follow the European science that says it is perfectly OK to fly as long as you all wear face masks.’
Mr O’Leary’s voice is one of several business leaders expressing scepticism at the plan.
George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah, said: ‘It is clear that Priti Patel has neither listened to the concerns of the travel industry nor seems unduly bothered by them.
‘We are none the wiser as to the science behind the rationale for quarantine and we still don’t know what the ‘enhanced border measures’ in March actually achieved.
‘But what we do know is that ‘Global Britain’ is shut for business.
‘It is the wrong policy that is going to cause untold misery for hundreds of thousands of people who will now very likely be made redundant.
Mr O’Leary said the form for quarantine was not even available yet on the Government website for travellers to fill in
YouGov research found 63 per cent of people were in favour of applying the quarantine broadly, while 24 per cent said it should only cover countries with high infection rates
‘The Government are responsible for lives and livelihoods. Has the Home Secretary thought about what the loss of livelihood is going to do to the lives of so many people across the UK travel and hospitality industry?
‘She must now take responsibility for the consequences.’
Heathrow boss John Holland Kaye railed against the quarantine yesterday, warning there was a danger of the ‘health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic’.
He said there had to be an ‘exit plan’ from the restrictions to avert huge redundancies.
‘If we don’t get a plan from the Government in the next few days on how we are going to reopen the economy, those jobs are at risk,’ he said.
‘I am going to have to make that decision in the next few weeks about jobs in my own company.
‘We need to stop this health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic.’
Source: Daily Mail – Articles