United Kingdom

Travel latest news: Quarantine exemption for business travellers prompts backlash

The Government is facing growing anger over its decision to allow business travellers to skip quarantine when arriving from high-risk countries.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced yesterday that ‘high-value’ executives will not need to self-isolate upon arrival in England from December 5, while holidaymakers returning from countries on the ‘red list’ still have to quarantine.

The move, recommended by the Global Travel Taskforce, has prompted accusations of hypocrisy from Labour politicians, who have pointed out that millions of people living in Tier 3 have been told not to travel.

Jim McMahon, the Shadow Transport Secretary, said: "If this government was serious about supporting the economy and jobs it would bring forward a proper package of financial support for businesses and the self-employed and a comprehensive plan for airport testing. Instead we have Tory ministers announcing loopholes for those they consider 'high-value'."

Performing artists certified by the Arts Council, TV crews, journalists, and elite athletes have also been granted quarantine exemptions, although strict conditions stipulate they will “only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity.”

The announcement came immediately after Mr Shapps confirmed that there will be no changes to the travel corridor list this week, leaving the number of restriction-free holiday options at just 23 destinations.

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