Fears that the UK could add Portugal to the ever-expanding list of countries that see travellers require a quarantine upon arrival in the UK have restarted calls to adjust how the 14 quarantine is handled.
While many countries – Belgium included – have implemented travel advice based on regions, labelling parts of countries as green, orange or red zones depending on the situation at that time.
For the UK, however, an influx in a country’s infection rate is enough to send arrivals from the entire country into mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of regional spread. This was the case for Belgium at the start of August, which was added to the list during that time that the Antwerp region saw high rates and a mandatory curfew.
Speaking to the BBC on the announcement that Portugal could soon join the group of quarantined arrivals, Andrew Flintham, head of Tui UK, argued that the policy must change.
“In the UK we have a slightly different policy in the fact that we don’t lock down the whole UK when the Leicester rate goes up,” explained Flintham. Leicester was the first part of the UK to go into a regionalised lockdown when numbers began to rise again.
In the interview, Flintham went on to explain the call for a similar principle to be applied to regions with low areas, to allow for a resumption of travel.
“We don’t want to put anybody in danger but clearly it is not the same everywhere in a country,” he added.
As it stands, there is no clear indication when the UK intends to relax the quarantine policy which has seen many turn away from trips both in and out of the country. Many British ex-pats in Belgium found their plans over the summer cut short or altered as a result of rapidly changing measures.
As a result of the “ever-changing” measures, the UK government has also faced public criticism from Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group. Walsh – who postponed his retirement as a result of the crisis took to the pages of the Times to voice his concerns.
“Britain’s economy is powered by our international connectivity and the ease with which we do business with other countries. Make no mistake: this is being destroyed by the government’s blanket quarantine on travel from a staggering 160 countries.”
“The UK has officially hung up the ‘closed’ sign”, he added.
The Brussels Times