The UK’s new testing rules began today at 4am, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last week that all international arrivals would need to show a negative Covid test on arrival into the country, or face a potential £500 fine. The strict new rules are intended to protect against the spread of coronavirus variants, after two new forms of the virus were recently discovered in Brazil.
A quarantine is also still in place for all UK arrivals, consisting of 10 days – but shortened to five if a second negative test result is obtained. Currently, no one is able to bypass this quarantine due to the removal last week of all the UK’s travel corridors.
More spot checks have also been ordered to check people are quarantining, and all exemptions to the policy – including the controversial separate rules for business travel – have also been removed.
While the news around testing is welcome news for many in the travel industry, who have spent the past year calling for an effective testing regime, the majority are still despairing over the continued use of a quarantine.
Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, the CEO of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), Karen Dee warned that the new measures will make little difference to the industry right now due to the already rock bottom travel levels, but that getting the balance right would be crucial going forward. Dee emphasised that quarantine is the “biggest deterrent” to people booking travel, rather than testing.
For now, the best way out of the UK’s travel deadlock may be the consistent use of testing, but with a restrictive quarantine still in place the question of when travel for Britons will be able to resume in a meaningful way remains unclear.
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