THIS Morning’s travel expert Simon Calder has been slammed online for “encouraging viewers to break quarantine” – with host Ruth Langsford forced to cut him off.
The 64-year-old travel pro was branded a “danger to public health” as horrified fans watched in shock while he shared loopholes surrounding the new 14-day quarantine Brits face after travelling to Spain.
It was announced over the weekend that as of yesterday anybody returning to the UK from mainland Spain or its surrounding islands must self-isolate for two weeks at home to avoid spreading coronavirus.
And on today’s show, Ruth and her husband Eamonn Holmes asked Simon to explain the new rules to viewers – but were stunned when he repeatedly promoted ways that people could flout the rules.
He even suggested that tourists return to their home, pack a bag, and go straight to France for another holiday – without quarantining in between.
Simon told a guest who is currently in Barcelona: “The only way to reduce two weeks of quarantine you have to serve when returning here [the UK]is to, believe it or not, leave the country again.
“To go to France, to Italy, or to anywhere else you like.”
When pushed further by Ruth, who asked if she was “being stupid” by not understanding the advice, Simon said that “it may sound mad,” but he “didn’t make the rules.”
He said: “They can, if they want to, leave their homes, catch the train to the airport and get on a flight to somewhere else.”
Eventually, Ruth interrupted to warn viewers to stick with the Government’s quarantine.
“It’s a grey area, and as a programme we have to go with the government advice, which is if you’re coming back to Spain you have to quarantine for 14 days,” she said.
Travellers returning to the UK from Spain found out yesterday they must quarantine for a fortnight.
Holidaymakers will be told to give an address to officials at the border – and face a £1,000 fine if they break it to go to work or to get food shopping.
Foreign Office advice has been changed to ban all but essential travel to mainland Spain and the surrounding islands.
It came as:
Viewers of This Morning hit out at Simon for his advice on today’s show – while Ruth told him: “It’s up to people to have a look at that and make their own minds up.”
Many of those who watched the show took to social media to air their disbelief.
“So irresponsible of #ThisMorning to be actively sharing ways to tale advantage of the guideline loopholes,” wrote one.
Another said: “Hey, @thismorning don’t invite Simon Calder back, he’s a danger to public health and encourages people to spread coronavirus across Europe.
“A deeply irresponsible man and shill for the travel industry with no morals.”
Another seethed: “Is this guy for real? His mania for going abroad has seriously clouded his judgement.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic and he is acting like the Delboy of travel and getting around the rules.”
One praised Ruth for her stern advice.
They said: “Nice one Ruth. The guy is reckless and needs to be off the air. Terrible advice on loop-holing.”
The Government removed Spain from the safe list of countries on Saturday, and said anyone returning would have to stay home for a fortnight or risk a £1,000 fine.
Brits have been advised against all but essential travel to mainland Spain thanks to a spike in infections.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab admitted that more countries could be removed from the travel safe list at short notice – risking quarantine on their return.