Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary launched a savage attack on government plans for a 14-day quarantine on arrival in the UK today.
The new rules are expected to be finalized by ministers, and any hope for a summer vacation should be dashed, with exemptions largely confined to truck drivers.
However, O’Leary dismissed allegations that this would prevent his goal of resuming flights in July, saying the policy was so “flawed” and unenforceable that the public would simply ignore it.
He insisted that the government is “making it up” and that face masks are the best way to protect the traveling public – despite many scientists saying they are of limited benefit.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said this morning that vacation destinations were unlikely to be spared, saying the exceptions would be “very limited”.
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary (file photo) today launched a savage attack on 14-day fortnightly government plans upon arrival in the UK
Tourism industry wants government to focus on measures that may see flights resume in a few weeks
O’Leary told BBC Radio 4 Today that the plans were “unworkable, unmanageable and rude.” File photo of Ryanair planes in Dublin
It is understood that the carriers will represent two thirds of those who are not required to self-isolate for two weeks.
The remaining exemptions will be agreed to by a cabinet committee chaired by Michael Gove.
They are expected to include people who “work for national security or critical infrastructure and who meet the UK’s international obligations,” officials said.
Scientists looking for coronaviruses may also be exempt.
But O’Leary told BBC Radio 4 Today that the plans were “unimplementable, unmanageable and rude.”
“People will just ignore something that is so desperately flawed … Let’s have effective measures like face masks,” he said.
“All you get from the British government is ‘we don’t know’.
“It is laughable that this government can propose quarantine plans that would be strict and fully implemented …
“It is silly and it is impossible to implement. You don’t have enough police in the UK.
He added, “The two-week lockout has no medical or scientific basis whatsoever. If you want to do something that is effective, wear masks.
O’Leary said the policy had “no credibility” and predicted it would be removed by June.
He insisted that research had suggested that face masks could reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection by 98.5%.
He told Sky News that the government is “inventing as it goes.”
Oliver Dowden said quarantine rules for people traveling to the UK will be enforced by law
Truck drivers should make up the bulk of people exempt from quarantine rules when traveling to other countries (stock photo)
Dowden said quarantine rules for people traveling to the UK will be enforced by law.
He said today, “We would look at the relevant enforcement mechanisms just as we have done with other measures.
“So, for example, the steps we took when we introduced the so-called foreclosure – they were supported by regulations that had legal consequences, and I’m sure we will do the same.”
He said there would be “very limited” exceptions to the rules.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye expressed his hope for more flexible rules yesterday, telling Sky News: “If two countries are at very low risk of having transmission in each country, there should be a free movement of passengers.
“But if a country presents a very high risk with rising infection rates and poor controls, then there would be very strict controls on anyone entering the UK from these markets.