Just a QUARTER of Britons have confidence in government’s Covid quarantine rules amid weeks of carnage that left thousands of holidaymakers high and dry
- England, Scotland and Wales split over quarantine for arrivals from Portugal
- Poll for MailOnline finds just a quarter have confidence in the UK’s system
- Ministers face backlash over chaos and refusal to do testing at airports
Just a quarter of Britons have confidence in the UK’s quarantine system after weeks of carnage that left thousands of holidaymakers high and dry.
A poll for MailOnline by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found people appear to be running out of patience with the regime, with just 24 per cent saying it is working, compared to 48 per cent who say it is not.
The grim findings came amid a bitter split between England, Scotland and Wales over whether Portugal and Greece should be added to the ‘red’ list.
And Boris Johnson is facing a growing Tory backlash over his refusal to introduce routine testing at airports to stave off the collapse of the travel industry.
Expectations had been growing for days that Portugal would be added to the quarantine roll this week after the total weekly cases per 100,000 of population rose above the UK’s trigger threshold of 20.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had previously indicated that this was the main metric the government would look at to impose restrictions. But last night, he announced that there would be no change – pointing out that the proportion of tests coming back positive still remained low.
An exclusive poll for MailOnline by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found just 24 per cent believe the quarantine system is working, while 48 per cent say it is not
The UK assesses quarantine measures on how many cases countries have reported in total over seven days, per 100,000 of population. The rough threshold for imposing controls is 20
The move left some holidaymakers complaining that they had been forced to come home early unnecessarily to avoid quarantine, while others had stayed on and were caught out by the change in the nations.
It followed other late decisions on countries such France and Spain that left people scrambling to get home to avoid self-isolating.
In a round of interviews today, Mr Shapp conceded that starkly different approaches within the UK were ‘confusing’.
But he insisted that the Westminster government had assessed the best evidence and concluded that Portugal was still low-risk, and swiped at Scotland for decreeing that travellers from Greece must self-isolate this week before even seeing the latest data.
He said Welsh minister might not have ‘noticed’ that the proportion of tests coming back positive in Portugal had fallen.
However, the Scottish government lashed back by accusing Mr Shapps of ‘jumping the gun’ by announcing a decision before the nations had discussed the situation.
Mr Shapps also hinted that the government could take a more regional approach in future, and admitted that airport testing – demanded by many to save the aviation industry – could cut the 14-day quarantine period in half.
However, Mr Johnson said quarantine measures for arrivals from countries deemed high-risk must remain ‘a vital part’ of the fight against coronavirus.
Asked during a visit to Solihull, he said he understands ‘the difficulties’ the airline industry is going through but said testing at points of entry only identifies 7 per cent of the cases.
On a visit to an HS2 site in Solihull today, Boris Johnson said quarantine measures for arrivals from countries deemed high-risk must remain ‘a vital part’ of the fight against coronavirus
‘So 93 per cent of the time you could have a real false sense of security, a false sense of confidence when you arrive and take a test,’ he said.
‘That’s why the quarantine system that we have has got to be an important part of our repertoire, of our toolbox, in fighting Covid.
‘What we don’t want to see is reinfection coming in from abroad and quarantine is a vital part of that.’
The latest rejection of airport testing fueled anger among senior Conservatives.
Tory MP Henry Smith, who chairs the all-party group on aviation, said testing had to be part of the solution to easing quarantine. ‘Countries like Germany, France quite a few others are testing,’ he said.
‘We are at a competitive disadvantage. Testing also means there is greater confidence for people to travel, and also greater confidence in terms of public health.