Omicron: International travel restrictions criticised by expert
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled new travel plans for the UK due to the latest Covid variant Omicron’s identification on UK soil. First cases of the mutated virus Omicron have been traced in the UK, yesterday Boris announced new measures to coincide with the latest scientific findings. From Tuesday masks will be made mandatory in shops and on buses and trains and new arrivals entering the UK must take PCR tests.
Talk Radio journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer spoke with Paul Charles to find out more about the restrictions announcement and its effects on UK travel.
Ten African nations have now been added to the red list, the list includes countries from south African territories such as Botswana and Namibia.
The new travel restrictions are set to affect anyone travelling overseas as those flying into the UK will need to follow quarantine rules and isolate.
When asked about what this means for those planning to travel Paul said, “overall these changes Julia are really not what the travel industry wanted right now and of course it is a false alarm over this variant.” stated Mr Charles
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Mr Charles continued “At the moment we hope it’s a false alarm, we don’t know the impact that it is going to have on the existing vaccines .”
“And we have been here before with variants which may of threatened our very livelihoods but which turned out to be nothing so let’s hope it’s the same this week”
“Travel was picking up again, it was seeing some significant recovery actually especially with the US opening up as well and pretty well travel airlines were back to 80% in some cases of what they saw pre-pandemic.”
Criticising the new travel regulations Mr Charles continued, “Now of course with these measures, the government, they may have taken a safety-first approach but it’s not the best approach.”
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Discussing the other ways the UK government could have handled the new variant Mr Charles went on to say, “It’s not the best approach there are alternatives, you can of course do pre-departure testing instead.”
“but putting hotel quarantine and home quarantine back in place will kill off inbound tourism, it will put off people from travelling outbound and making bookings.”
“It reduces confidence and we’ve got to wait three weeks before these measures are reviewed which is crazy.” Mr Charles concluded
Mr Johnson said in his announcement yesterday that, “Our scientists are learning more hour by hour, and it does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated.”
Discussing travel Johnson said, “We need to slow down the spread of this variant here in the UK because measures at the border can only ever minimise and delay the arrival of a new variant rather than stop it altogether.”
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid also said in a statement to Sky News on Sunday. “We know now that those measures do carry a very heavy price, both economically, socially, in terms of non-COVID health outcomes, such as the impact on mental health for example.”
With worries of another cancelled Christmas over the new restrictions due to mistrust of the government, Javid said, “continue with their plans as normal for Christmas and I think it is going to be a great Christmas.”
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