Travel quarantine ‘simply a reality’ of global pandemic - Minister

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Local Government minister Simon Clarke has defended the government’s blanket quarantine policy on travellers returning to the UK from Spain.

Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, the Conservative MP said changing advice was “simply a reality” of life amid the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s just the factual reality that in a global pandemic, you try to create air bridges - they are an important tool to enable foreign travel - but as you do so it is implicit within that that if the situation changes then we have to have flexibility to respond,” he said.

It comes as ministers faced criticism for reintroducing a two-week quarantine on those returning from holiday in Spain after the country saw a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Holiday firms and opposition parties have urged the government to end “confusion” after the Balearic and Canary Islands were added to the list of places where only essential travel should take place.

The move has also raised questions over the lack of notice for holidaymakers and whether there will be financial support for those who travelled to Spain without realising they would not be able to return to work straight after.

Mr Clarke responded: “We absolutely try to provide the fullest information that we can, clearly this situation moved incredibly quickly in Spain.

“We strongly encourage employers to take a sensible and supportive approach to this issue and to work with their staff to find viable options either to work from home or to keep them on, on full pay.”

He added that the State will be there as a “safety net” to offer support via Universal Credit. 

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