Ryanair’s outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary has said it is “absolutely imperative” that “big tourist destinations” such as Greece and Spain be added to the UK’s green list this weekend.
Mr O’Leary told Sky News: “Restrictions should be lifted, we should allow British families to travel to the US and Europe, and return without completing useless PCR forms for those who have Already vaccinated.”
But scientists warn that any increase in international travel The UK’s recovery from COVID-19 could be jeopardized, with the potential for new variants entering the country as tourists return from countries with fewer vaccinations.
“Nothing is absolutely safe,” Mr O’Leary said, but “it is the job of scientists and doctors to urge caution and care and concern,” he said. “While the vaccine is effective against the Indian variant, it is being used by the science and medical professions to caution.
“It’s time to move on with our lives. We have 18 months of scientists and doctors making us worry about horror and variants and everything else.”
Current data shows that the variant identified for the first time in India is Up to 60% more permeable trans than the one first identified in Kent.
The new Indian version is “taking over” the dominant COVID strain in the UK, as cases rise across the country, Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist, told Sky News.
Mr O’Leary later acknowledged that the version was actually more passable, and said he supported a stricter border policy for travelers from countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
“There should still be strong border controls on long-haul flights to the Southern Hemisphere, where they have not stepped up their vaccine program,” he said.
But the airline boss criticized the requirement for vaccinated British passengers returning to the UK from Green List countries to have a negative PCR test, calling the situation “bizarre”.
“The government has no excuse for restricting air travel,” he said. “It’s time to go on vacation and it’s time for a Ryanair flight.”
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