The new quarantine rules were branded a ‘national embarrassment’ last night as it emerged not a single person has been fined.
All air passengers arriving in the UK must quarantine for 14 days and rule-breakers should be hit with £1,000 penalties and those who fail to provide contact details fined £100.
But in a week when the rules have cost the economy an estimated £650million, the Daily Mail can reveal not a single penalty has been issued as of midnight on Thursday.
As of midnight on Thursday, no quarantine fines have been handed out during the first week of the 14-day quarantine rule for new arrivals in the UK.
Tory MPs and aviation bosses last night said the lack of fines proved the ‘unenforceable’ scheme is a ‘waste of time’ that risks causing damage to the economy.
Home Office officials insisted the lack of punishment proves all passengers are adhering to the rules.
But their explanation was described as ‘laughable’ by critics as spot checks on passengers are being carried out by telephone, so there is no way of telling whether someone is really at home.
Tens of thousands have flown into Britain since the rules were introduced on Monday.
Tens and thousands of people have arrived in the UK since Monday, with the new rules costing an estimated £650million
A Mail reporter who flew into Heathrow earlier this week is among many who have yet to receive one of the Home Office’s ‘assurance calls’.
The revelations emerged as British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet launched legal action against the Government yesterday, claiming the ‘discriminatory, irrational and disproportionate’ policy is illegal and risks devastating the aviation and hospitality industries.
Separately, a report by the Commons transport committee today calls on the Government to ditch the system and replace it with less restrictive measures, such as air bridges, which could allow quarantine-free holidays abroad.
Paul Charles – from the Quash Quarantine group of more than 500 businesses – told the Mail that many have lost their jobs due to the new measures.
He added: ‘It is sad that the Home Secretary and Dominic Cummings think their livelihoods are a price worth paying for this policy, which is nothing more than a national embarrassment.’
A senior figure in the aviation industry said: ‘These flawed quarantine rules are unenforceable so the quicker the Government puts air bridges in place or targeted rules solely for high risk countries, the better.’
A spokesman for Ryanair last night described the policy as ‘useless and damaging’ and said evidence from online bookings suggests ‘thousands of UK families are ignoring quarantine’ by booking holidays for next month.
Aviation companies such as British Airways and Ryanair (pictured) have launched legal action against the Government, claiming the policy is ‘illegal’. A Ryanair spokesperson described the policy as ‘useless and damaging’
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: ‘It was patently obvious to anyone with a brain bigger than a plant that this policy was always impossible to enforce. The Daily Mail’s evidence today suggests the quarantine is a national scandal.’
In today’s report, the cross-party transport committee also says the Government should suspend air passenger duty payments for six months – which could slash up to £170 off the cost of a plane ticket.
And the committee wants to make it easier for holidaymakers to claim refunds from airlines.
A Home Office spokesman said passengers have been following the rules, adding: ‘We expect this to continue as the vast majority of people will play their part to help stop the spread of this disease.’