UK coronavirus travel rules were “arbitrary” and “confusing”, a group of MPs has said this morning.
The Commons Transport Select Committee said restrictions brought in because of COVID-19 caused a severe financial shock to the sector without any of the significant health benefits that were promised.
Speaking to Sky News, chairman of the committee Huw Merriman cited the confusion around differing rules for returning from countries in Europe.
“We had situations where you recall that those returning back from France were told they had to self-isolate because of a concern of a variant,” the Tory MP said.
“But that variant was higher in Spain and yet nothing occurred to Spain. It was confusing.”
The variant accounted for 3% of COVID cases in France and 13% of cases in Spain.
He continued: “Passengers were told they wouldn’t be subject to two tests when Omicron came in. But a day later, the second one was added.”
The rules, he said, were disproportionate as the airline industry was not compensated in the same way other sectors – such as hospitality – were and people were stopped from travelling due to the cost of restrictions.
“So we do feel that it was targeted unfairly and there are lessons that must be learnt if there’s another variant of concern.”
He said there was “too much secrecy” around why decisions were made.
“It was telling when we went and visited Germany that we found the industry and the scientists and the civil servants and government ministers were all in the room deciding what should be done and therefore all in agreement.
“And yet in this country, we saw the industry taking the government to court to try and work out exactly why some of the decisions had been made.”