Friday, 30 Jul 2021

Holidaymakers no more likely to get infected than if they stay at home

The data that shows we CAN get the UK flying again: Holidaymakers are no more likely to get infected than if they stay at home, study suggests

  • The infection rates of those travelling abroad are similar to those who stay home
  • Ministers say 14-day quarantine is essential to stop Covid coming into the UK
  • The policy has been blamed for destroying the holiday hopes of millions 

Travel bosses demanded an end to quarantine last night as data revealed the infection rates of people who travel abroad are similar to those who stay at home.

Ministers insist the 14-day quarantine policy is essential to stop large numbers of coronavirus cases being brought into the country.

An ONS study previously found that there were more cases of the virus among people who had travelled abroad compared to those who had not.

The percentage of travellers who tested positive after returning from abroad was as high as rate of people testing positive who stayed in the UK between September 25 and October 8

But data from September 25 to October 8 shows there is now barely any difference between the two groups.

According to the study 0.58 per cent of people who recently travelled abroad tested positive for coronavirus. This compared to 0.49 per cent who tested positive having not left the country.

Katherine Kent, co-head of analysis for the ONS Covid-19 infection survey, said: ‘Analysis now shows that, unlike before, there is no longer a difference in the rate of infections between those who have travelled abroad and those who haven’t.’

Aviation industry leaders said the study proves there is little justification for forcing passengers to quarantine on arrival.

The policy has been blamed for destroying the holiday hopes of millions while severely hampering Britain’s economic recovery.

Spain and Italy have both seen infections increase to record levels along with those in France, Britain and other countries, although the Czech Republic and Belgium have the highest rates of any major countries in Europe  

The Daily Mail’s Get Britain Flying Again campaign has led calls for the rule to be scrapped and replaced with an air passenger testing regime to rescue the aviation industry and bolster the economy.

Business chiefs have warned failure to act will lead to tens of thousands of job losses in the months to come as airports and airlines desperately try to save money.

Although Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recently announced a ‘global travel taskforce’ to look at halving the quarantine time to seven days, airline executives say any length of quarantine will continue to strangle the economy.

Travel consultant Paul Charles, of The PC Agency, said: ‘The Government’s own statistics now show that those entering the UK hardly carry the virus, so the current blunt quarantine rules should be abandoned.’

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership of travel agents, said: ‘The recent addition of the Canary Islands last week on to the safe corridor list provided a much-needed boost to the industry and customers alike. Let’s keep the momentum going, get rid of quarantine regulations that have no bearing on our health and focus on a considered testing regime to getting the country travelling safely again.’

It comes as Airports Council International revealed yesterday that nearly 200 airports in Europe will face insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start recovering by the end of the year. Sources said this includes regional airports in the UK.

Olivier Jankovec, director-general of ACI, said: ‘The figures paint a dramatically bleak picture. Eight months into the crisis, all of Europe’s airports are burning through cash to remain open, with revenues far from covering the costs of operations, let alone capital costs.’

Separately the International Air Transport Association warned yesterday that the average airline has just 8.5 months of cash left.

The global trade body predicted a 46 per cent drop in total industry revenues in 2021 compared to 2019.

Alexandre de Juniac, director-general of IATA, said: ‘Unless governments act fast, some 1.3million airline jobs are at risk. And that would have a domino effect putting 3.5million additional jobs in the aviation sector in jeopardy along with a total of 46million people in the broader economy whose jobs are supported by aviation.’

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘We’re now working at pace to make international travel smoother and our global travel taskforce is exploring how a testing model can be implemented in the UK.’

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