UK to quarantine all new air arrivals sans the French
“To prevent reinfection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air,” Johnson said, s he announced the next steps to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
UK neighbor, France, will be exempted for the time being, however.
“No quarantine measures would apply to travelers coming from France at this stage,” Johnson’s office said. A similar message was carried by Elysee – it said that “any measures on either side would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner.”
While no official timeframe for enforcing the proposed quarantine has been revealed yet, the measure is expected to take effect by the end of May or early June.
While Johnson failed to elaborate, whether the proposed quarantine would be exclusively limited to air travel, with many assuming just that, there have been reports that the measure would also include other means of transportation, and that Johnson’s point was to merely provide an example.
However, with the lack of clarity around the proposal, many accused the British leader of coming out with a half-baked plan, which – at least as outlined by the PM – would not affect those coming into the country by train or ferry.
Unlike quite a few countries, the UK did not impose quarantine measures on travelers when COVID-19 outbreak reached its shores. While air traffic has been at a trickle and most flights have been grounded for over a month already, it did not prevent some 100,000 people from arriving into the UK since 23 March.
The plans to impose quarantine on air passengers did not sit well with the local aviation industry, battered by the COVID-19 crisis.
“We will be asking for assurances that this decision has been led by the science and that government has a credible exit plan, with weekly reviews to ensure the restrictions are working and still required,” the trade body, Airlines UK, said.
Karen Dee, the chief executive of the Airport Operators Association warned the move will “not only have a devastating impact on the UK aviation industry, but also on the wider economy” altogether.