The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has defended the UK Government’s decision to maintain England’s travel corridors with Portugal and Greece, despite Scotland and Wales reintroducing travel restrictions.
This week the English, Welsh and Scottish quarantine policies have split. Scotland has imposed a quarantine on Greece, while Wales has placed a number of Greek islands on its ‘red list’. England, however, retains its travel corridor with the country.
The situation intensified yesterday, when Scotland and Wales moved to impose a quarantine on mainland Portugal, shortly after Grant Shapps announced Portugal would keep its travel corridor with England.
Mr Shapps admitted that the difference in quarantine policies is “confusing”, as Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye spoke out to denounce the Government U-turns and disparate policies as a “quarantine roulette”.
Acknowledging that disparities in the UK’s quarantine policies are baffling holidaymakers, Mr Shapps also stressed there was little he could do for desperate Welsh and Scottish travellers, who have been left with the challenge of getting home before the quarantine rules come into force.
“You are quite accustomed to seeing, for example, Scotland do one thing and say you can meet with so many people and Wales do another and so on and so forth,” he told Sky News.
“The travel corridors are similar to that and I do realise that it creates confusion for people not to have a single rule but we do have this devolved approach throughout the UK.
“I can only be responsible for the English part of that.”
Critics have spoken out against the quarantine policy debacle. Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy PC Agency, said: “The quarantine policy is in tatters and dividing the United Kingdom.
“Consumers are totally confused by the different approaches and it’s impossible to understand the Government’s own criteria any more, on when to add or remove a country.”
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