Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed today that he hopes testing at UK airports for international travellers could be put in place by December 1. Currently, the UK has a travel corridor list in place which includes “safe” countries Britons can travel to without facing quarantine on their return to the UK. Countries not on the travel corridor list with a high infection rate mean that Britons have to quarantine on their return to the UK for 14 days.
Today, Mr Shapps spoke at an aviation conference called Airlines 2050.
In his talks, Mr Shapps revealed plans for “a single test for international arrivals, a week after arrival”.
He told the Airlines 2050 conference: “My ministerial colleagues and I have agreed a regime, based on a single test provided by the private sector and at the cost to the passenger, after a period of self-isolation and doing those things could achieve our objectives.
“The next step is to develop how this approach can be implemented.”
However, he did say it would depend on how easily the tests could be supplied.
He said: “Public Health England will set a quality for the test itself, and then it will be down to the private sector to provide a test up to that quality.”
Mr Shapps said he is hopeful the new plans will happen “quickly” but that it will depend on the tests.
He added that he doesn’t want to make false promises.
Although the government’s current travel corridor and quarantine decisions have remained unpopular among travel sector bosses, Mr Shapps maintained that the situation would have been “very much worse” if not for quarantine.
He said quarantine has “helped ensure that the sacrifices of our nationwide lockdown were not wasted.”
He added: “Even now, at a time of rising infections, we know the situation would have been very much worse had we not have taken a prudent approach over the summer.
“Like every government, we have had to constantly reassess our response because of the unpredictable nature of the virus.
“We have had to make very difficult decisions, often very quickly, in order to follow the science.”
Mr Shapps also highlighted an international approach, which could involve a series of tests, “quarantine before or after flight, or a combination of the two”.
He added: “Or, ultimately, if the technology is there, no quarantine at all – in return for, perhaps, daily rapid tests.”
Published at Mon, 19 Oct 2020 12:30:00 +0000