A minister has admitted that a family from Spain can holiday in the Lake District while a family from the UK cannot under the new controversial quarantine rules .
The travel quarantine rules are set to come into force on Monday despite opposition from Conservative MPs who claim it will “ground the aviation industry”. The regulations will require everyone coming into the UK to self-isolate for 14 days.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis insisted it was the “right time” to bring in the rules as he did the media round this morning.
BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt asked him: “If you or I wanted to go for a two week break in the Lake District right now – we can’t do that can we? We’re not allowed to do that.
"If a family from Spain wants to come to the UK and spend two weeks in the Lake District next week – can they do that?”
Mr Lewis replied: “As long as they are following the guidance and doing the quarantine as outlined, and giving the details to Public Health England (PHE), somebody from abroad can come to the UK but they will have to quarantine for 14 days.”
Mr Stayt added: “Can you not understand how that sounds utterly ridiculous?
"So you or I - who we know have been following the guidelines - cannot go away and take a break for two nights or two weeks but other people coming in from the rest of Europe can come to this country and they can do exactly that. How does that make sense?”
Mr Lewis said they would have to quarantine and added: “PHE will be checking up on this, there will be substantial fines for people who don’t follow those guidelines, they will have to quarantine – here within the UK we are gradually looking at how we can further ease the lockdown measures.
“We are very keen to ensure that people across the country, with a cautious approach, will be able to enjoy their summer, will be able to take those kind of trips. We’ve got to do that in a very managed and cautious way.”
Government ministers have faced a grilling over the rules which are aimed at preventing new infections being brought in from abroad.
Tory MP Dr Liam Fox, former International Trade Secretary, told the Commons yesterday that he could not get his head round the “mental gymnastics” of the policy.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Travellers from overseas could become a higher proportion of the overall number of infections in the UK and increase the spread of the disease.
"The Government is acting now by taking a proportionate and time-limited approach to protect the health of the British people.”