AN alarming new report has found that the spread of coronavirus cases is “highly correlated” with the extent of air travel.
A study by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) named the UK as an example of where a large number of domestic and international flights “facilitated contagion”. The lack of border control in the early stages of the crisis may have had devastating affects for Britain.
The report said “the flow of air passengers across and within country borders has been a major contributor to the spread of the virus”.
Serge Stroobants, an IEP director, told the PA news agency: “The countries most impacted are countries that are really participating in global trade in the globalised world and the interconnected world.
“These are countries in which you will find a large airport hub, giving the potential to people to travel from one country to the other.
“That’s why, for example, the region of Milan in Italy, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, London and New York, those big international hubs created more exchanges and more potential for the virus to grow.”
The UK Government’s policies on air travel during the pandemic have been controversial.
Earlier on when there was still a small number of coronavirus cases in the UK, there were calls for restrictions on flights from destinations deemed at high risk of the virus.
However, flights have so far been unrestricted and international arrivals have only been required to enter a 14-day quarantine since Monday.
The Government insisted at the time there was no evidence that closing borders would be an effective measure.
Speaking of the new travel restrictions, the Home Office explains: “If you’re a resident or visitor travelling to the UK on or after 8 June, you must provide your journey and contact details, and not leave the place you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK except in very limited situations (known as ‘self-isolating’).”
The regulation is in place to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Explaining what will happen if travellers coming to the UK do not obey the quarantine, the government states: “Once the rules come into place you may be fined £100 if you refuse to provide your contact details in England (or £60 in Northern Ireland).
“You may be fined more if you break this rule more than once.
“You may be also fined £1,000 if you refuse to self-isolate in England or Northern Ireland, or you could face further action.”
However, a number of airlines are taking the unusual step of uniting in the face of the quarantine rules.
The trio are challenging the regulations.
EasyJet, TUI, Ryanair, British Airways and Jet2, who have all outlined July start dates.
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against “all but essential travel” for an indefinite period of time.
It is not yet known when this will be lifted, however, holiday hotspots including Spain and Greece have already suggested British tourists will be welcomed back before the end of summer.
Airlines have also begun to outline new health and hygiene protocols to ensure passengers and crew can fly safely.
Meanwhile, Easyjet has announced that it will be returning to the skies next month with 50 percent of its 1,022 routes in July and 75 percent in August.
Robert Carey, Chief Commercial and Planning Officer at easyJet said that the airline that demand for flights is beginning to return.
“We are delighted to announce that we will be flying the majority of our route network across Europe, meaning customers can still get to their chosen destination for their summer holidays this year.
“We’re passionate about helping our customers get back flying, which is why we’re offering one million seats at £29.99 for those planning on booking a holiday this summer.
“Travel restrictions are being lifted and demand is starting to return, so there’s no better time for us to introduce this sale.”