Labor calls on government to step up coronavirus testing at airports and review ‘chaotic’ quarantine rules


Labor is calling on the government to step up coronavirus testing at airports and launch a review of its ‘chaotic’ travel corridor policy.

The party said the current so-called travel roulette, where countries are hit with a 14-day quarantine rule for travelers returning to Britain on just a few days’ notice, is having a “disastrous” impact on the travel industry.

Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said a ‘robust airport testing regime’ could minimize the need for those returning from countries with high rates of Covid-19 cases self-isolate.

In a letter to Interior Minister Priti Patel, he added that he had “serious concerns” about the low level of surveillance of inbound travelers, claiming that “less than a third” of passenger quarantine forms are verified.

Ministers made weekly decisions on whether to reimpose travel restrictions where the risk of infection increases, using 20 cases per 100,000 people as a threshold for adding or removing countries from the “red list”.

In the latest rule change, which went into effect on Saturday morning, the Scottish and Welsh governments again added Portugal to their quarantine lists, but not England and Northern Ireland.

Holidaymakers in France, Spain and the Netherlands have had to scramble to get home in recent weeks as ministers have introduced quarantine curbs, sometimes with just a few hours’ notice.

Nick Thomas-Symonds called on Priti Patel to launch a ‘rapid review’ of the Quarantine Policy (PA)

In his letter to Ms Patel, Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “I am writing to call for a swift review to correct the chaotic quarantine arrangements that lose public trust and undermine our ability to keep people safe and secure. to save jobs.

“In order to rebuild this trust, I appeal to [the] The government will undertake a review of the quarantine policy, and report back within two weeks.

“It should include options for a robust testing regime at airports, and related follow-up testing, which could help safely minimize the need for a 14-day quarantine.

“It is clear that stepping up testing is an important part of trying to respond to the pandemic and reopen society safely. ”

It comes as Metropolitan Police said they had received 1,000 tips since the start of August from UK border force officials to verify travelers were isolating themselves and visiting 840 people, reports the Guardian.

Greater Manchester Police received 263 of these referrals.

Portugal latest to be hit by quarantine borders (REUTERS)

Further confusion among holidaymakers, Scotland imposed self-isolation rules for Greece and Wales did the same for six Greek islands including Zakynthos and Crete. However, Westminster and Stormont have so far resisted.

Airlines have criticized the use of quarantine measures as they face a bloodbath at work.

Virgin Atlantic on Friday announced plans to cut an additional 1,150 jobs after reaching a £ 1.2 billion bailout deal, after 3,150 cuts in May.

A government spokesperson said: “We are taking clear and decisive action to slow the spread of the virus and save lives.

“We are constantly monitoring data from all countries and territories, and if the risk to the public health of people returning from a particular country without self-isolation becomes too high, we will not hesitate to remove countries from the list. travel corridor exemptions.

“Work is underway with clinicians, decentralized administrations and the travel industry to determine if and how the tests could be used in the future to reduce the period of self-isolation.

“Any potential change in testing for arrivals should be robust by minimizing the risk that positive cases will be missed.”


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