Ttravelers arriving in England from Green and Orange List countries would no longer be subject to such strict Covid controls.
Border staff will no longer have to verify whether arrivals have filled out a passenger locator form if the computer system cannot find one, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.
A note seen by the newspaper confirmed that electronic border gates “will no longer direct passengers to face-to-face checks by border force officers if a passenger tracking form is not found.”
A passenger tracking form is used by authorities to locate people who may have been in contact with someone with Covid.
The note, which was reportedly sent to staff on July 19, also reportedly suggested that passengers will not have to provide proof of a negative Covid test before flying, or confirmation that they have booked a follow-up test afterwards. their return to the country.
The ISU – the Union for Borders, Immigration and Customs – has since apparently confirmed the Guardian’s information.
Lucy Moreton of the ISU union confirmed that the reported note was accurate to the BBC.
“At the end of the day, this is a political decision,” Ms. Moreton said.
“Certainly this will dramatically reduce wait times and hopefully the level of verbal abuse to which border force personnel are subjected.
“It’s welcome for us. The impact on Covid security in the UK is ultimately a scientific determination. “
Images posted on social media last week showed long lines of travelers at Heathrow Terminal 5.
An airport spokeswoman said a number of employees were forced to self-isolate.
“Earlier today, we experienced some passenger congestion in departures from Terminal 5, due to colleagues who have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
“We have activated additional team members to assist passengers with their journeys and the operation is now back to normal.
“We apologize to our passengers for any inconvenience caused. “
The Liberal Democrat chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the coronavirus, Layla Moran, told the Guardian: “This is beyond belief. The removal of Covid controls at our borders will make it much more difficult to detect and exclude variants from abroad.
“It appears the government intends to repeat the mistakes that allowed the Delta variant to become dominant in the UK. “
The Home Office said airlines were still legally required to perform a series of Covid checks.
A government spokesperson said: “Our top priority is to protect the health of the public and our improved border regime helps reduce the risk of transmission of new variants.
“All passenger tracking forms are still verified by carriers, as they are legally required to do, and to suggest otherwise is wrong. This legal requirement for carriers is underpinned by a robust compliance regime, which is overseen by regulators. “
The spokesperson added: “Compliance with these rules is essential in order to protect the public against new variants of Covid-19, and there will therefore be severe fines for those who do not follow the rules. “
Airlines UK, which represents easyJet, Tui and British Airways among others, told the BBC: “The carriers are committed to working with Border Force on these requirements, which is why compliance has always remained extremely high. “