THIS Morning's travel expert Simon Calder has been slammed online for "encouraging viewers to break quarantine" – with host Ruth Langsford forced to cut him off.
The 64-year-old travel pro was branded a "danger to public health" as horrified fans watched in shock while he shared loopholes surrounding the new 14-day quarantine Brits face after travelling to Spain.
It was announced over the weekend that as of yesterday anybody returning to the UK from mainland Spain or its surrounding islands must self-isolate for two weeks to avoid the spread of deadly coronavirus.
On today's show, Ruth and her husband Eamonn Holmes asked Simon to explain the new rules to viewers – but were stunned when he repeatedly promoted ways that people could flout the rules.
He even suggested that tourists returned to their home, packed a bag, and went straight to France for another holiday, without quarantining in between.
Eventually, Ruth interrupted Simon's remark, sternly saying: "It's a grey area, and as a programme we have to go with the government advice, which is if you're coming back to Spain you have to quarantine for 14 days."
Simon looked sheepish as he tried to argue that it was all on official websites, with Ruth hitting back: "It's up to people to have a look at that and make their own minds up."
Viewers heaped praise on the presenter for the dressing down, while slamming Simon for his "irresponsible" advice.
One wrote: "Hey, @thismorning don’t invite Simon Calder back, he’s a danger to public health and encourages people to spread coronavirus across Europe.
"A deeply irresponsible man and shill for the travel industry with no morals."
Another seethed: "Is this guy for real? His mania for going abroad has seriously clouded his judgement.
"We are in the middle of a pandemic and he is acting like the Delboy of travel and getting around the rules."
A third said: "Nice one Ruth. The guy is reckless and needs to be off the air. Terrible advice on loop-holing."
The Government removed Spain from the safe list of countries on Saturday, and said anyone returning would have to stay home for a fortnight or risk a £1000 fine.
Brits have been advised against all but essential travel to mainland Spain thanks to a spike in infections.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab admitted that more countries could be removed from the travel safe list at short notice – risking quarantine on their return.
How coronavirus has crippled the travel industry
HERE'S how coronavirus has hit major travel operators:
- British Airways has suspended all routes from London Gatwick and London City airports, and has moved all operations into terminal 5 at London Heathrow.
The airline is currently operating just one in ten of its usual flights.
On April 28, BA’s parent company IAG said it was preparing to cut 12,000 jobsfrom the airline’s 42,000-strong workforce.
Reports on April 30 suggest a quarter of pilot roles could be included in this number.
- easyJet has grounded its entire fleet of 330 aircraft and cancelled all flights.
The airline hasn’t said when it will start flying again but its staff are currently being given a two-month leave of absence, meaning the measures will last at least until June.
- Flybe collapsed into administration on March 5.
The airline had been losing money for several months, with it narrowly avoiding going under in January 2020, but coronavirus was understood to have had a severe impact on bookings.
- Jet2 has cancelled all flights and holiday packages until June 17.
The airline is expected to start flying again from the middle of June.
However, this could change depending on the lockdown situation.
- Ryanair has grounded 99 per cent of its fleet due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Remaining flights are operating on an emergency schedule only for passengers trying to return to the UK.
The airline has announced it could cut 3,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan.
- TUI has suspended all package holidays and cruises due to the crisis.
All trips have been cancelled until June 11, while Marella Cruise holidays won't resume until July.
The dates could be extended again depending on government advice.
- Virgin Atlantic has suspended all flights, with no word on when it'll start flying again.
Virgin Group owner Richard Branson has asked the government for a bailout to keep the airline going, as well as private investors. But 3,150 staff also face the axe.
It follows the fall of Virgin Australia into administration after being refused a bailout from the Australian government.
- Wizz Air had grounded the majority of its flights, with limited routes to Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland.
However, the airline has today resumed some routes from London Luton Airport.
Destinations include Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Portugal, Spain and Israel.
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