Thursday 4 June 2020 10:03 am

DEBATE: Should the government rethink its quarantine rules?

Kate Nicholls is chief executive of UKHospitality.
and Kevin Foster
Kevin Foster is Minister for Future Borders and Immigration

Should the government rethink its 14-day quarantine rules for new UK arrivals?

Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality, says YES.

International tourism is a significant driver of our economy and is going to be key to recovering from the Covid-19 crisis.

The proposed 14-day quarantine will inevitably damage international visitor travel and could hurt consumer confidence, which will be key if hospitality businesses hope to get back up and running. Many inbound visitors would coming from countries with lower infection rates than the UK, so the measure seems disproportionate to the threat.

Public safety is obviously the priority, but with hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk, we need to know that decisions and restrictions are made on an entirely science-led basis. 

We also need more clarity about what conditions or criteria must be met in order for the quarantine rules to be lifted. There needs to be, as a bare minimum, an indication of how long measures might be in place, to allow businesses to plan.

Finally, we need clarity on the frequency of reviews. Recent government messaging has been mixed on an issue which has the potential to further undermine reopening efforts across a sector that has already been hammered. 

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Kevin Foster, minister for future borders and immigration, says NO. 

The government’s priority is protecting the public and saving lives. These new measures do exactly that. They are informed by science and backed by the majority of the public.

We have all made sacrifices to reduce the rate of transmission within the UK and we must not let these sacrifices be for nothing.

The science is clear. By controlling new cases being brought in from abroad, we can help to prevent a devastating second wave of coronavirus.

We know that the country and businesses are facing great challenges, and this is why we are supporting the economy, including the airline and tourism industry, with one of the most generous relief packages anywhere in the world.

As we move forward, we will continue to look at options to increase international travel and get the tourism and aviation industry up and running again.

But this cannot be at the expense of risking a second wave — and it can only happen when it is appropriate to do so.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.