3 MAY 2021
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EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren was Guest of Honour at an Aviation Club virtual lunch last week.
With overseas leisure travel expected to be permitted for people in England from 17 May as part of the next easing of coronavirus restrictions he said that popular destinations such as Spain, Portugal and Greece should be placed in the lowest risk category with an announcement as soon as possible.
“The success of the UK vaccine rollout has broken the link between cases and hospitalisation.
“It is the same success that allows for the domestic reopening.
“And as we get into May and June we expect the situation to improve because of the progress of the vaccination programmes.
“So, we have demonstrated through the scientific analysis it is safe for much of Europe to be categorised as green.”
EasyJet commissioned research by leading epidemiologists Dr Jeffrey Townsend and Dr Alison Galvan from the Yale School of Public Health in the US.
The analysis, based on data from 12 April, found that opening UK borders to travellers from much of Europe would increase hospital admissions by less than 4%.
If Spain – the most popular overseas destination for UK holidaymakers – was on the green list, only an additional four people per week would require hospital treatment due to coronavirus, the study found.
The researchers also claimed the 10-day quarantine period for people returning from amber countries is longer than necessary.
Dr Townsend said: “Travel quarantines have been a cornerstone of efforts to prevent infectious disease prevention since the 14th century.
“We’ve determined that appropriate, shorter quarantines and judicious testing can facilitate travel, in cases where they are needed to prevent unsafe levels of transmission.”
Asked about easyJet and Heathrow, the only major European airport it does not operate into. Mr Lundgren said it was not a no. “It’s something we are always monitoring”. As for Eilat (Israel), he was less fulsome in spite of incentives from the Israeli Government (see in this week’s BTN). “We already operate to Ben Gurion from three UK airports. They are some of our most successful routes. The status quo remains.
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