Corona-19 arrival tests need to replace Quarantine

Having returned from Holiday in Ibiza on Saturday morning, I feel very lucky to have avoided the Government’s illogical 14-day Quarantine imposed as a blanket measure across the whole of Spain.

Having seen the figures relating to the spike in Corona-19 cases in regions of Mainland Spain, I can understand the need to change FCO advice,  to not to fly to airports near these locations and even the need for a Quarantine period, until a less “Crude” anti-transition mechanism is put in place.

However, telling holidaymakers that it is OK to travel to the Balearics and Canary Islands under FCO advice, but then imposing a 14-day Quarantine period on return defies logic and needs to be strongly challenged by the travel Industry.

I live in Rochdale which has been on the amber lockdown warning for weeks, due to the high number of local cases but I’m still being encouraged by the Government to go to work and to “Help out by Eating out”,  even though the infection rate is higher than in my holiday location of Ibiza. Where’s the logic?

The Government also does not understand the need to keep FCO Travel advice and Quarantine rules in sync.

FCO advice not to travel to a destination instantly invalidates Travel Insurance and forces airlines and tour operators to offer customers a full refund or free change of holiday date. However, advising customers they can travel to the Balearics and Canaries, but imposing 14-day Quarantine creates a massive conflict situation between travel agents and customers.

Some customers will still want to travel, but many will argue that they cannot afford to be off work for a further 14 days after they return from their 7-day holiday and will want to cancel or change dates.

However, low-cost carriers like Ryanair with no FCO advice not to travel will continue to operate their flights as the costs of “Stop-Start Flying” are very high. This means any agent who has dynamically packaged a holiday to that destination will not be able to claim a refund or change the flight without fees, which will need to be passed onto their customers. Many customers simply want to cancel and get their money back, causing conflict and reputational damage.

Unfortunately, even Insurance policies including Covid-19 cover do not provide cancellation cover for what is termed, a “Disinclination” to travel, caused by the 14-day return home Quarantine. This leaves holidaymakers who want to cancel completely out of pocket and unhappy.

The speed of the imposition and the blanket nature of the Quarantine across the whole of Spain will do massive damage to future holiday bookings.

Why would you book in January, if a second or third wave could occur in a holiday destination leaving you out of pocket?

The only solution is for the travel industry to take control of the situation and implement the more logical “Test, Track and Trace” methodology for any customers entering the UK.

Customers could then be given a choice of a 14-day Quarantine period or the option to pay for a Corona-19 test at their arrival airport. They would then need to travel directly home to isolate, operating a full track and trace of who they meet, until they can receive their test results, which can now be delivered by email or text alert within 7 hours.

This is a much more logical and focused procedure that delivers the same results. More importantly to the travel industry, it will increase confidence to book and allow Insurance policies to be created to cover the small risk of individuals returning home with Covid-19 and needing to isolate. What insurance will not cover is the economic cost of millions of people having to Quarantine for 14-days.

The only way to fight an illogical Government is with science and logic supported by customers. Just complaining will get the industry nowhere.