MINISTERS are facing calls for coronavirus testing at airports and regional air bridges as the UK's quarantine policy wreaks havoc on the travel industry.
British Airways, easyJet, Tui and Heathrow airport were among 47 travel firms who wrote to the PM asking for a “more nuanced approach” to quarantine rules and expanded testing measures.
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In the letter, they warned the recent blanket restrictions imposed on travel from Spain risked leaving the sector “permanently scarred”.
They are calling for regional air bridges to low-risk areas of high-risk countries like Spain and the United States, and also for travel corridors to parts of Canada.
But Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden warned measures in airports are “no silver bullet” adding: "We are not at the point where there is a viable alternative to the 14-day quarantine.”
A poll by the PC Agency revealed that the public overwhelmingly back test and tracing at airports over self-quarantine.
They found that 70 per cent would prefer the government to set up the testing system rather than issue blanket quarantine measures.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said “If we’re to live with coronavirus for the longer-term, then the government should be investing in Nightingale test facilities at UK airports so as to capture any signs of the virus before it enters the country.
“Effective testing and tracing is the solution rather than economically-damaging quarantine measures.”
On Saturday the UK government announced that people travelling from Spain from July 26 will have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Before, the UK had allowed Brits to travel to the holiday hotspot without needing to self-quarantine on return.
But after a spike in coronavirus cases in Spain, holidaymakers in the country – including Balearic island hotspots like Majorca and Ibiza – will now be forced to quarantine for two weeks upon returning home to the UK.
It is thought more than 600,000 British tourists will be affected by the restrictions.
Many already on holiday or having booked one face uncertainty as to whether their trip will still go ahead.
Jet2 has cancelled all holidays and flights to the Spanish mainland until August 17 and to the Balearic and Canary Islands until August 10 as a result.
TUI has cancelledflights to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands until August 4, and to mainland Spain until August 10.
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