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Travel firms sue UK government over Covid restrictions

July 10, 2021
tourism

Companies say government's traffic light system is not transparent

A group of British airports and airlines took the UK government to court Friday, demanding it disclose the evidence behind its coronavirus travel restrictions, which the companies say are ruining their business.

Manchester Airports Group, which owns the Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, brought the case, along with airlines Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet as well as travel business Tui and British Airways’ parent company IAG. The travel businesses say the government’s “traffic light” system, which labels countries as low, medium or high risk, is not transparent.

“We are told it is a risk-based approach, so what we say is that the criteria and the reasons must be sufficiently accessible,” the group’s lawyer, Tom Hickman, said at a High Court hearing in London on Friday.

He added that there was a “fundamental lack of transparency” and that the categorisations appeared to be arbitrary.

Only 27 countries and territories are on the “green list”, which contains the destinations British residents can travel to without having to quarantine on return. Arrivals from dozens of “amber list” countries have to self-isolate at home for 10 days, while people arriving from “red list” countries, including India and Brazil, must quarantine in a government-approved hotel.

The government says it will lift the self-isolation requirement for fully vaccinated Britons returning from amber list countries on July 19.

The government’s lawyer, David Blundell, said that “decisions need to be made urgently in response to emerging data” and forcing disclosure of all the evidence “would lead to a serious risk of delay in a decision-making process'.

The two judges hearing the case plan to give their ruling at a later date.

thenationalnews