To quarantine or not to quarantine?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The UK government has, to use an old-fashioned phrase, got its knickers in a twist over the proposed fourteen day quarantine advice.

cartoon of a traveller
Has the UK government really thought this through? © Dan Sperrin

Firstly it went ahead and announced it proposed implementing it from June 8th. Then it suggested that people should drive home from airports and self-isolate without taking into account that many people would have used public transport to get to and from airports.

Next it said people would be allowed out to buy food.

The boss of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, was one of the first to point out the idiocy of the policy which left more loopholes than a party political manifesto.

Either quarantine must be either a complete self-isolation or what’s the point? In Australia, you are ushered straight from plane to hotel and that is where you stay until the quarantine period is over,

At present it seems that those who are exempt include haulage drivers, the police, anyone connected to the health service (the NHS employs over a million people but that does include office staff) police officers and seasonal farm workers. What of their families? You will have to make exemptions for family members so a large number of people will be able to travel freely.

Also exempt will be people coming from the Irish Republic, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

This policy hasn’t been thought through properly many people would say.

Today, newspapers have also jumped on the bandwagon suggesting the lobbying by the travel and tourism industry is having an effect or that they are just realising how unfit for purpose the proposed quarantine is.

The travel and tourism industry has campaigned hard against it but they would, wouldn’t they?

Social media comment seems split between those who think that it is a policy of wealth before health and those who want to holiday.

A survey carried out for the Online Buying Club amongst 25,000 Just about Travel readers said that almost 68% of people would be less likely to take an overseas holiday because of the quarantine. There is a sixteen point percentage gap from those that said they would definitely forego an overseas holiday this year because of the coronavirus.

The impact of the quarantine can only be considered as having a substantial impact.

Politicians are being lobbied by the travel industry and they, in turn, are lobbying the government to do an about turn which eventually the government will do.

It will start by saying that circumstances have changed and there could be some relaxation. Or it will announce a travel corridor with some countries which have a lower infection rate than our own.

Since the number of deaths is dropping on a seven-day pattern, we may not be far away from a field on a par with many of Europe’s tourist destinations.

Whether that means the government will change its mind and either make it watertight or remove it before or after June 8th is anyone’s guess but the longer it goes on the more holes in this Baldrick cunning plan will be found.  

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