Ryanair CEO criticises Merkel’s ‘stupid’ quarantine plans
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Hope for future travel was sparked at the traffic light review on June 24, when the Secretary of State for transport Grant Shapps confirmed the green list would be expanding. Among the new additions were Spain’s Balearic Islands and Portugal’s Madeira. However, there are mounting concerns that European Union (EU) countries could agree on new quarantine rules specifically for UK arrivals.
It is thought German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanual Macron will present evidence at an EU member meeting this week to show why British arrivals should face mandatory quarantine.
Already in Germany, British arrivals are forced into mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
The rule would see similar rules being rolled out across the entire bloc.
It is thought whether or not a person has been vaccinated could play a crucial role in this.
Unvaccinated British arrivals entering any European country may be set to endure 14 days of quarantine.
However, the rule may not apply to those who have been double-jabbed.
It comes amid growing concerns over the spread of the Delta Variant.
The mutant strain was first discovered in India and is thought to be 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant which was discovered in Kent, UK.
Delta now accounts for almost all UK cases.
Currently, EU states are free to impose their own restrictions on arrivals from abroad. Yet France and Germany are keen to overhaul this and create a bloc-wide agreement.
Currently, Malta, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, and Iceland are on the UK’s green list.
Newly added Balearic Islands, including popular destinations Ibiza, Menorca and Majorca, are currently on the green watch list.
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Already, European nations which have made it onto the green lost are now implementing strict rules for UK arrivals.
Malta recently made the decision to implement 14 days of mandatory quarantine for Britons who have not taken up both doses of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Portugal – including its archipelago Madeira – have imposed 14-day isolation for British tourists who can’t prove they have been fully vaccinated.
France’s President Macron has warned that the EU’s digital green pass for travel could be in danger if member nations do not adopt one cohesive rule for international arrivals.
Speaking on Thursday, Angela Merkel, said: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that is what I would like to see.”
Already, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has slammed her comments as “stupid”.
He is calling for restriction-free travel for all people who have been vaccinated.
He said: “There should be no restrictions on those people going to Europe and equally no restrictions on those European visitors coming to London and the UK.
“If they have been vaccinated they are not a risk, they are not a threat and I think you could also undermine Ms Merkel’s somewhat stupid idea this week that British arrivals into Germany should isolate for five days, why?”
The pushback from France and Germany may be a cause for concern for holidaymakers eyeing a getaway in the coming months, particularly with hopes travel restrictions could relax.
Some EU nations have already suggested they will not be imposing tighter restrictions on Britons.
This is particularly true for those who rely on British tourism to make up a sizeable chunk of income for their economy.
Greece’s prime minister Kyraikos Mitsotakis said the solution was to ramp up each nation’s own vaccine roll-out, rather than target the British market.
Speaking at a Summit meeting in Brussels, he said: “Regarding the Delta variant, in my intervention, I said that we should not adopt a logic of new restrictions but, on the contrary, accelerate the vaccinations.
“As I said yesterday, those who have been vaccinated are protected, those who have not been vaccinated are in danger.”
José Ramón Bauzà, former President of the Balearic Islands, also pushed for countries to focus on their own vaccination rates.
He said: “We know vaccination is working very well, and in the UK, it’s working so far.”
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