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Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary rants at ‘idiotic’ government plans for 14-day coronavirus quarantine on arrivals to the UK

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‘They are making it up as they go along’: Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary rants at ‘idiotic’ government plans for 14-day coronavirus quarantine on arrivals to the UK as ministers deal fresh body blow to holiday hopes

  • Airlines have warned strict quarantine will kill off aviation and tourism industries
  • Culture Secretary says exemptions to 14-day quarantine will be ‘very limited’
  • France not currently set to be excluded despite previous suggestion of a deal
  • Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary says the plan is ‘idiotic’ and can’t be enforced 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary today launched a savage attack on the government’s plans for 14-day quarantine on arrivals to the UK.

The new rules are set to be finalised by ministers, with any hopes of summer holidays expected to be dashed as exemptions are largely limited to lorry drivers.

However, Mr O’Leary dismissed claims it will prevent his aim of resuming flights in July, saying he believes the policy is so ‘defective’ and impossible to enforce that the public will merely ignore it.

He insisted the government is ‘making stuff up as they go along’ and face masks are the best way to protect the travelling public – despite many scientists saying they are of limited benefit.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden signalled this morning there is little prospect of holiday destinations being spared from the regime, saying the exceptions will be ‘very limited’.


It is understood that hauliers will make up two thirds of those not required to self-isolate for two weeks.

The remaining exemptions will be agreed at a cabinet committee chaired by Michael Gove, although it is not clear any announcement will come today.

They are expected to include people who ‘work supporting national security or critical infrastructure and to meet the UK’s international obligations’, officials said.

Scientists researching coronavirus may also be exempt. Last week Downing Street denied that travellers from France would be excluded, despite previously suggesting that was an option.

Ireland will not be covered by the rules due to the Common Travel Area’s role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

But Mr O’Leary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the plans are ‘unimplementable, unmanageable and unpoliceable’.

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