On Wednesday evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation once again with new measures to try and tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, his move has been slammed by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary as “lumpy and defective”.
Amid changing travel corridors and now the new “rule of six”, the Ryanair boss has said “pretty poor in almost all respects of dealing with COVID”, and warned there is only one “way forward”.
He points to airport testing instead, suggesting it is the best way to tackle the pandemic while also allowing the travel industry to get back on its feet.
“They were late into lockdown, they were late into testing, they were late into face masks, now they’re pooh-poohing testing,” he told the BBC.
“Testing is the only way forward here.”
Governments in Europe, such as Italy and Germany, have allowed travel EU travel with the assistance of a test and trace system.
This “aggressive” system is one which O’Leary believes is crucial for the UK.
He suggests travellers are tested on arrival at an airport, and then tested again five days later.
Should a passenger receive two negative tests they are then able to leave quarantine early.
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However, the Ryanair boss has said he finds it a “waste of time” speaking to Government officials about his suggestions.
“I wouldn’t waste my time talking to anyone in the UK government at the moment given their abysmal record at mismanaging COVID,” he said.
Despite Mr O’Leary’s comments, however, Boris Johnson has argued testing is not the way to go.
He argued tests at airports might only catch as few as seven percent of cases.
“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,” he said.
“What we don’t want to see is reinfection coming in from abroad and quarantine is a vital part of that.”
It comes as the Prime Minister introduces new rules to try and curb the spread of the virus.
This includes a new “six people” contact rule, as well as heightened Border Force regulations.
“We will simplify the passenger locator form needed for travelling to the UK and take measures to ensure these are completed and checked before departure,” he said in an address to the nation.
“Border force will step up enforcement efforts at the border to ensure arrivals are complying with the quarantine rules.”
He added that he hoped the new rules would not “cause any extra burdens for the travel industry”.
“I really appreciate the difficulties that industry has been going through,” he said.
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