‘Limited prospects’ of imminent changes to quarantine approach

The government was due to review quarantine measures and the potential for a relaxation this week, but sources suggested limited prospects of immediate change.

Travel Weekly understands ministers excluded the industry from discussion of the review amid anger at the extent of leaks and recent media speculation. An aviation source expressed frustration saying “information has dried up” and warned: “The status quo is most likely.”

Croatia was removed from the travel corridors list from Saturday along with Austria and Trinidad and Tobago, but Portugal joined the declining number of quarantine-free destinations. France threatened retaliation for UK quarantine restrictions, with a minister warning: “There will be restrictive measures decided in the next few days.”

An airline source said: “There is consternation about the short notice [of changes], but there is not a lot the government can do about that.”

The industry continues to lobby for Covid tests on arrivals to cut the length of quarantine and regionalised restrictions that could allow the partial opening of markets.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the government is considering both, but warned anyone travelling: “Go with your eyes open because coronavirus is a fact of life.”

The aviation source said: “We want testing agreed in principle. The government could lay the ground without testing starting, likewise with regionalisation, but we sense they’re not minded to do that.”

The airline source agreed, saying: “There is a difference between a ministerial decision on testing and starting testing. It’s not something that can be put in place within days. We’re going to be into the winter season before we properly restart. We’re all extremely worried.”

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