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Tue, 7 July 2020

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Coronavirus quarantine of all UK arrivals to begin as airlines mount legal action

Coronavirus quarantine of all UK arrivals to begin as airlines mount legal action

Ryanair is among the airlines challenging the curbs. (PA)

2 min read

The Government’s compulsory 14-day quarantine of all international arrivals to the UK is set to come into force on Monday — as airlines branded the measures “disproportionate and unfair”.

From Monday, those travelling into the UK will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks, with the threat of £1,000 fines for people who do not comply.

Ministers have argued that the steps are needed to prevent a second wave of coronavirus and have promised to review the curbs every three weeks.

But the plans have been roundly criticised by airlines and travel operators, as well as senior Conservative MPs including former prime minister Theresa May.

Three major airlines — British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair — have now launched legal action against the Government over the plan.

In a statement issued on Sunday night on behalf of all three operators, a Ryanair spokesperson said it was challenging “a number of defective measures”.

Those include the fact the quarantine appears “more stringent than the guidelines applied to people who actually have Covid-19”, and that the Government “is banning people from countries with lower R [virus reproduction] rates than the UK.”

The spokesperson added: “We urge the UK Government to remove this ineffective visitor quarantine which will have a devastating effect on UK’s tourism industry and will destroy (even more) thousands of jobs in this unprecedented crisis.”

Ministers have said they remain open to “air bridge” agreements allowing quarantine-free travel between the UK and third countries, with Boris Johnson reported to be personally in favour of such a proposal. 

Speaking in the Commons last week as a string of Tory MPs condemned the quarantine plan, Ms Patel said the measures were needed between Britain remained "vulnerable to infections being brought in from abroad".

And she said the 14-day rule was based on "consistent and clear" scientific advice.

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