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WEEK PLAN

UK’s 14-day quarantine for foreign travel will be over by June predicts Ryanair boss – as he calls it ‘stupid’

RYANAIR boss Michael O'Leary has slammed the government's plans for a 14-day quarantine on people coming into the country, calling them "idiotic and unimplementable."

The budget airline CEO has predicted that the rules forcing anyone coming into the country - even if they have returned from holiday - to self-isolate for two weeks will be over by June.

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Ryanair's CEO has predicted that the rules forcing anyone coming into the country to self-isolate for two weeks will be over by June
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Ryanair's CEO has predicted that the rules forcing anyone coming into the country to self-isolate for two weeks will be over by JuneCredit: Reuters

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's idiotic and it's unimplementable.

"You don't have enough police in the UK to  implement a two-week lockdown."

"People will will simply ignore something that is so hopelessly defective.

"We've had discussions with the UK government about where do people isolate [and they say] errr we don't know.

"And if you isolate for example in the same house as a health service worker, does the health service worker have to isolate as well? [And they say] Errrr we don't know.

"So all you get back from the UK government is 'we don't know.'"

Michael O'Leary has slammed the government's plans for a 14-day quarantine on people coming into the country
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Michael O'Leary has slammed the government's plans for a 14-day quarantine on people coming into the countryCredit: Reuters

Over the weekend, Italy announced plans to scrap its own 14-day quarantine for international visitors, reopening its borders to EU tourists from June 3.

Mr O'Leary believes that as more countries across the EU follow suit, Britain will be forced to abandon its own quarantine, not long after it comes into effect.

He said: "The Italians have been the first to move, they've now removed the 14-day quarantine restrictions from June 3, they've opened up the economy and they are welcoming visitors to come back to Italy again.

"Covid-19 has largely been eliminated in the community in Italy and we think that's likely to happen across many more European economies over the next couple of weeks, including in the UK.

"The 14 day lockdown has no credibility and will be eliminated before we get to the end of June anyway."

The predictions from Mr O'Leary came on the same day that Ryanair revealed that up to 3,250 jobs could be cut while staff face 20 per cent pay cuts
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The predictions from Mr O'Leary came on the same day that Ryanair revealed that up to 3,250 jobs could be cut while staff face 20 per cent pay cutsCredit: EPA

Instead of a quarantine, Mr O'Leary is calling on the UK government to make it mandatory for all passengers on airlines to wear masks.

He said: "There is considerable evidence that masks are effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

"It's the only way in actual fact that you can allow people onto mass transport."

Hitting back at Michael O'Leary's claims that the government would be unable to enforce a 14-day quarantine, the Culture secretary has today suggested that the new rules for people travelling to the UK will be enforced by law.

Oliver 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.  

The outburst from Mr O'Leary came on the same day that Ryanair revealed that up to 3,250 jobs could be cut while staff face 20 per cent pay cuts.

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The announcement comes as part of Ryanair's financial results published today, which saw the budget carrier make a profit of €1billion (£894million) in the year to March 31, 2020.

But Ryanair warns that this financial year will be "difficult" due to "uncertainty" over the impact and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Job cuts are currently being consulted on, with up to 3,000 cabin crew and pilots, and 250 head office staff expected to be hit.

Similar job losses have also been announced at British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.

Despite the setbacks predicted for the tourism industry as a result of the upcoming 14-day quarantine, Ryanair will have 40 per cent of its flight schedule back and running from July 1.

All passengers will have to wear face masks and have temperature checks before flying.

Passengers will be encouraged to check in fewer bags and check in online - downloading boarding passes to their smart phone - as well as undergoing temperature checks at airport entry and wearing face masks or coverings at all times in the terminal and on board aircraft.

Anyone who doesn't pass the temperature check will be removed from the terminal, and masks will be given to those who don't have them.

Cabin crew will be offering a limited trolley service with pre-packaged snacks and drinks, but customers will only be able to pay for items with cards.

Queuing for toilets will also be banned, with passengers having to ask flight attendants for access to the bathrooms.

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