The VOYAGE quarantine is expected to be halved when the UK lockdown ends, the Transport Secretary said today.
Grant Shapps told airport operators that a new “test and release program” will begin after the last shutdown is completed to reduce self-isolation for unsafe countries from 14 days to about seven days.
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He revealed today that the travel task force has “made very good progress”.
The new system will see passengers pay for a test after arriving in the UK, taken four or five days after arrival, and if negative, removes the need for quarantine.
He said speaking to the Airport Operators Association this morning: “I want you to know that we are making very good progress on a test launch of a program to launch, once we are out. of this lock.
“This will be a one-time test for UK arrivals provided by the private sector, and at the passenger’s expense, which will allow us a much reduced period of self-isolation.
Industry insiders have said it could cost up to £ 150 – but some of the costs will likely be subsidized by airlines.
He also revealed that the rapid result tests – which are being tested in the mass test pilot in Liverpool – could pave the way for non-quarantine travel.
Mr Shapps added, “This is a very precise swab test that gives results in under an hour and does not need to go to the lab.
“Ultimately, it could also pave the way for non-quarantine travel.”
It comes after a summer of feuds between ministers and the travel industry after the government imposed 14-day quarantine periods on people returning from dozens of countries – discouraging people from leaving.
At the moment, people cannot travel – inside or outside the UK – during England’s second lockdown.
They face a £ 200 fine if caught escaping to escape.
Hour-long Covid tests for holidaymakers leaving the UK have already been launched at Heathrow, boosting international air travel.
The tests are being rolled out for passengers traveling to countries that require a negative coronavirus test in order to avoid being quarantined.
Pre-departure testing facilities were launched at Heathrow Airport in Terminals 2 and 5 last month.
The tests are initially only offered to passengers traveling to Hong Kong, with plans to roll them out to other destinations.
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The test performed by Collinson and Swissport is a rapid LAMP-type test that returns a result in approximately 60 minutes.
Passengers traveling only to Hong Kong can pre-book a test, which must be booked online before traveling to the airport.
The test costs £ 80 and results can be available in around 60 minutes, although the first passengers to take the tests said it took only 20 minutes.