Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said the British Government had mismanaged its response to the novel coronavirus outbreak for many weeks and its policy of a 14-day quarantine for international travellers was “idiotic”. Mr O'Leary claimed the new travel measure would be impossible to implement. But confronted on the same programme on the Ryanair boss's comments, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden claimed quarantine rules for people travelling to the UK will be enforced by law.
Mr Dowden told Today: «We would look at the relevant enforcement mechanisms just as we have done with other measures.
«So for example, the measures that we took when we introduced the so-called lockdown – those were underpinned by regulations which had consequences in law, and I'm sure we'll do the same thing.»
He said there would be «very limited» exemptions to the rules.
Spaking before him on the programme, the Ryanair chief said: “It’s laughable to think that this Government could come up with any plan that could be strict and fully enforced when they are already exempting the Irish and the French.
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“You don’t have enough police in the UK to implement the two-week lockdown.
“And what’s really worrying is that the two-week lockdown has no medical or scientific basis in any event.
“If you really want to do something that is effective, wear masks.
“What worries us is that the UK Government are there talking about an ineffective and unmanageable 14-day lockdown instead of talking about allowing people travelling on the underground, on trains and on planes, wearing masks.
Karen Smart told the BBC on Sunday that regional airports are pushing the Government to ease travel restrictions.
However, the airport boss warned it could take years for travel to return to normal.
“From a passenger perspective, we expect it to be a phased return to flying,» said Ms Smart.
“It’s likely that it’s going to take up to two years for air traffic levels to return to what we’ve experienced recently.”
Ms Smart explained airports are hoping the two-weeks quarantine rule will only apply to “high-risk countries.”