Tourism figures, in their latest protest against the U.K. government’s travel policies, wants the self-isolation protocol to be reconsidered as it “kills travel” market.
The travel sector is again at gunpoint as U.K.’s quarantine protocols continue to exacerbate the woes of the already struggling industry—particularly now that the number of new coronavirus infections across the country is climbing.
Tourism figures call for better travel policies
One of the few personalities that appealed to the national government is the director of Discover Ferries Emma Batchelor. In a report published by The Guardian, she said that “quarantine restrictions should be proportional” and, at the same time, be placed “under close review” as a way to help people travel safely.
The director, who also represents the passenger ferry sector in the U.K., also urge the government to be transparent with its decision-making criteria as well as to consider regional (rather than country-based) quarantine as an alternative to the current travel policies.
“We also call on the government to be transparent […] so people can make an informed decision on where they can travel,” she said, per The Guardian.
Batchelor’s call came following holidaymakers rebooking their flight from the Spanish islands to other countries due to uptick in new coronavirus cases.
Paul Charles, PC Agency’s travel consultant, also echoed Batchelor’s sentiment. He said that the government must provide a notice to holidaymakers, as well as the travel sector, to help customers in case they need to reconsider their plans.
COVID-19 testing at airports and other alternatives
Moreover, Charles suggested COVID-19 testing at airports, along with temperature testing and contact tracing, as an alternative to 14-day self-isolation protocol.
According to him, combining the three measures is better than the blanket quarantine approach, which he said, “does not have the same impact [as the 14-day quarantine rule] on the economy.”
In France, airports like the Paris-Orly Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle have made coronavirus testing mandatory for inbound passengers coming from their list of 16 high-risk countries, including the United States. And if a passenger tested negative, the person would need not go under a 14-day quarantine.
In Iceland, travelers can opt from two options: take a test for US$70[AU$97.79] or go for a two-week quarantine.
Self-isolation rule is “strangling the UK economy”
The sector’s recent call to re-evaluate its travel policies, however, is not the first time since the government imposed a 14-day quarantine rule. In June, European airline bosses called the protocol “rubbish” and “disproportionate.”
And recently, Heathrow airport’s boss called out the government for the said measure. He said travel restrictions as such “strangles the U.K. economy” as it cuts Britain from key markets off.
In July, Heathrow passenger traffic fell by 88%, emphasizing that more than half of the 860,000 passengers booked a flight to European countries without quarantine protocols. And just like Paul Charles, the airport’s CEO suggested COVID-19 testing at airports as a substitute for quarantine.
“The government can save jobs by introducing testing to cut quarantine from higher-risk countries while keeping the public safe from the second wave of COVID,” CEO John Holland-Kaye of Heathrow told the BBC.
However, Oliver Dowden, U.K. Culture Secretary, rejected the idea and insisted that testing at airports is useless since the virus may develop eventually.