Take a look at the COVID-19 statistics
This morning, as the Times reports that tens of thousands of British holidaymakers are in limbo as “quarantine measures looked all but certain to be reimposed on Portugal a fortnight after it was put on the “safe” list”, it is time to for the “experts” advising the politicians to dust off an atlas and appreciate each one of the 968 kilometres that separate autonomous regional entity Madeira from Lisbon.
The UK authorities say they want to “keep it simple”, and yes, you could argue that the Balearics are so close to Spain that there is a lot of travel between those islands and the mainland, and it is, therefore, difficult to distinguish between the two when it comes to deciding on quarantine rules. However, the Canary Islands are 1700 kilometres (more than 1000 miles) away with little appreciable travel between the two.
It is highly unlikely, from both a convenience and financial point of view, that somebody testing positive on the continental mainland would choose to fly to either Madeira, the Azores, or the Canary Islands in order to travel onwards to the UK and avoid quarantine if these locations maintained their “travel corridor” status on a regional basis.
And what these independent, autonomous regional entiities have in common is a huge reliance on tourism for their income (I admit to a vested interest here, through our main sponsor Madeira Direct). They also share very good statistics, particularly Madeira, which has only counted 161 positive cases since March, with no fatalities. Part of this is due to having implemented fast and rigorous testing at the airport.
Take a regional view
It is about time that the UK government got something right and adopted a regional rather than country-wide view when deciding who quarantines and who doesn’t. Madeira might have a better chance at recovering financially if they do, and Brits could have the chance to visit the world’s leading island destination.
Updates are being added to last Fridays post for the time being