The lobbying group representing U.K. airlines, Airlines U.K., is freaking out at the idea the government may insist on a 14 day quarantine for new arrivals to the country. They say it will cut the country off from the rest of the world.
They want the government to concentrate on monitoring and hygiene practices rather than make life more difficult for the airlines.
The airports are also making it clear that social distancing rules in airports simply will not work. Heathrow’s CEO used the concept of a 747-400 disgorging its 340 passengers as taking up almost a mile of space in the airport, and it just can’t be viable.
Yet all around the world airports and airlines are offering up details of the level of hygiene they’ll all implement, from locked off seating to deep cleaning and routine sanitisation of seating and surfaces on board. There’s been no hint of any of that from a U.K. airline yet.
It’s a sad fact that Britain, throughout its history, has tended to do only the minimum to get by in a crisis. The government response to the epidemic has been an exception rarely seen, and sadly, it’s unlikely to push the airlines to do more than they want to.
Aircraft from known hot spots in China, Europe, Iran have still be flying to Heathrow and there have been no controls on incoming passengers. Government sees it as pointless as without rapid on the spot testing, which doesn’t yet exist and may never do so, they have no means of identifying potential carriers.
But rather than be sure with a 14 day quarantine, they’ll risk it. And as usual, business will come before the general well-being of the public at large. The very reason the lockdown was at least one week later than it should have been in the first place, when they allowed two major football matches and the Cheltenham Festival go on. Those three, especially the later, are regarded as having contributed to a massive increase in the outbreak in London.