Putting down what could be the harsh reality of travel at the age of COVID-19, the US government has announced plans to impose a 14-day quarantine on most international travelers.
Airlines and travel shares fell sharply on Monday, a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to new restrictions in television broadcast speeches. The government’s “recovery strategy”, released Monday, said that a handful of visitors would be excluded – those who brought supplies to the country, supporting critical infrastructure, for example, and France.
Read: Britain sets a lock-relax plan with ‘homemade’ face masks, back to work, sosial social bubbles ’
In addition to isolating themselves for 14 days upon arrival, travelers need to provide contact information and accommodation, and are urged to download a government contact search application. Quarantine will start as soon as possible, said the government’s strategy document. Most of the steps will not begin until May 13 – the beginning of Step 1 of the government’s strategy to build and run the country.
Shares in low-cost airline EasyJet
slid 9% on Monday after Citigroup analysts said it would have to raise up to £ 1 billion ($ 1.2 billion) due in part to customers’ hopes of seeking a refund. While US travelers are not mentioned, it is assumed that anyone leaving the country and returning may also be required to quarantine, although Johnson said the government would make exceptions for visitors to and from France.
“The ministers effectively told people that they could no longer travel for the future, and airlines would respond by stopping their operations,” Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, an industry association representing registered operators in Britain, said in a statement.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has estimated that international travel could fall by 60% to 80% this year, putting millions of jobs at risk.
Britain is not the first to consider pandemic-related actions for visitors. Hong Kong requires 14-day quarantine from all visitors, while Austria offers a 190-euro corona virus test for incoming travelers who cannot prove they are disease free and do not want to quarantine themselves for two weeks.
Struggling with its own coronavirus outbreak, the U.S., for example, has a travel ban that includes foreign nationals who have visited China, Iran and many European Union countries, and has advised its own citizens not to travel abroad.
“It’s easy to implement these restrictive steps, but it’s harder to take them away,” flight analyst Paul Charles told MarketWatch, as he criticized the UK quarantine plan. He said the industry’s main concern was that there was no real end date for the action, and further uncertainty meant many people would postpone booking trips for business or leisure.
The airline’s fleet has been grounded for weeks, with job losses expected to pile up. Virgin Atlantic, founded by businessman Richard Branson, and 49% owned by U.S. airlines Delta
has warned that it might reduce 30% of staff and struggle to survive, and British Airways said 12,000 jobs might be lost.
Charles said that, instead of quarantine, large airports need to coordinate globally to filter passengers, because they have room to handle it. “Medical technology is getting better so results can return faster,” he said, adding that the social distance on the plane made no sense because airlines would not make enough money by flying half-full planes.
Charles, chief executive officer of the PR firm focusing on travel, PC Agency and former director of communications at Virgin Atlantic, said the World Travel and Tourism Council will begin to unveil Tuesday about global steps and standards to help the industry get back on track.
“One thing for sure is that domestic travel will go very well in many markets. People want to live close to home, trusting in the medical resources and infrastructure of their own country, “he said.
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