Thousands of Brits ignoring 'confusing' 14-day quarantine rules after returning from hols

THOUSANDS of Brits may beignoring "confusing" quarantine rules after coming back from their summer holidays abroad.

The Met Police have received more than 1,000 tips to carry out quarantine checks to make sure holidaymakers are sticking to their two week isolation.

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London cops said they have so far visited 840 people with another 301 planned, to check on those quarantining after returning from abroad, reports The Guardian.

Greater Manchester Police meanwhile had received 263 quarantine referrals – with two fixed penalty notices issued to people breaching isolation.

Quarantine rules requiring Brits to isolate for 14 days have come increasingly under fire as they have been devastating for industries reliant travel and tourism.

The frustration comes as both Scotland and Wales went rogue and imposed their own quarantine rules independently from the UK Government.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps even confessed the system was "confusing" for travellers – and accused the two devolved administrations of "jumping the gun".

He also suggested a potential two-step testing system to reduce quarantine down to "seven or eight days" – but said this was not a "silver bullet".

Business leaders and Tory MPs have however blasted the government's rule, calling for an introduction of airport testing and a ditch of the quarantine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the two week rule and "safe list", saying airport tests simply give a "false sense of security" for travellers.

Public Health England believe only seven per cent of cases could be caught by screening people on arrival in the UK.

Industry figures however believe a two step testing system could catch up to 96 per cent of cases after eight days, or 85 per cent after five days.

Greece and Portugal are feared to be the next countries to join the quarantine list as coronavirus cases continue to spike across Europe.


Labour have also demanded an immediate review of the "chaotic" self isolation scheme which has seen thousands having scramble to get home after snap decisions to destroy air bridges from countries like France and Spain.

It is feared quarantine rules for travellers coming to Britain are costing the tourism industry up to £650million a week as thousands have already lost their jobs.

Henry Smith MP, whose constituency includes Gatwick Aiport, begged Downing Street to reconsider the scheme.

He said: "We are supposed to be looking to be global Britain and yet we are at a competitive disadvantage to those countries like Germany, like France, that are testing passengers.

"I would urge the Government to reconsider. That is a very important part of public health confidence, confidence in flying and competitiveness of the UK economy."

Heathrow Airport has a football pitch sized testing area standing ready to welcome passengers, and bosses boast it can give answers in 24 hours.

It would cost travellers £100-a-use, but would allow them to return from quarantine-list countries without having to stay home for two weeks.


David Davis MP, the former Brexit secretary, blasted the quarantine policy as being "based on guesswork from the beginning" and said the two week quarantine is "crippling" for working people.

And meanwhile, former transport secretary Chris Grayling said the level of job losses in the industry is "profoundly concerning" and said its "suffering badly".

Former aviation minister Thersea Villiers added: "There is great anxiety among Conservative backbenchers because we know so many businesses in our constituencies will go under without support for aviation."

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, which runs Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow, accused the government of failing to engage with the industry over the quarantine.

He said: "Ministers have completely disconnected. We are isolated as an industry and they are not interested in talking to us about testing."

Heathrow Airport also described the failure to introduce testing as "madness" and said it is "costing jobs".

"Sixty per cent of the fleet is on the ground. Nobody is coming here on business, because the average business trip is three to five days and a two-week quarantine is out of the question," a spokesman said.

 

 

Mr Johnson has refused to bow to pressure as he backed Public Health England's assessment of airport testing.

He said: "What we don't want to see is reinfection coming in from abroad and quarantine is a vital part of that."

Former PM Tony Blair has also waded in on the row – warning a failure to screen passengers would cripple international trade.

However, Catherine Noakes a member of the government’s Sage advisory panel warned the UK is currently at a pivotal point to control the spread of coronavirus.

Professor Noakes told The Guardian: "'We are at a point where there's a risk that wider transmission of Covid could increase again. 

"Transmission depends on the amount of contact between people, and with schools and universities returning and many more people going back to work, the level of interactions in communities is likely to increase."

She urged people to "keep following the rules" or risk the UK seeing another spike in cases which could lead to another dreaded national lockdown.

Yesterday, the UK recorded 1,940 new cases – the highest since May – but it is believed much of this may down to be more testing nationwide.

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