UK plots testing regime for foreign travellers in blow for aviation

posted on 5th January 2021 by Eddie Saunders
UK plots testing regime for foreign travellers in blow for aviation

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The government is said to be preparing a stringent new testing regime for travellers entering England, dealing a fresh blow to the embattled aviation industry.

Under new rules set to be unveiled later this week, will require anyone travelling into the country to receive a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before their journey, the Financial Times reported.

It follows a new system introduced last month that allows passengers to shorten their self-isolation by taking a coronavirus test.

The so-called Test and Release system enables visitors from countries not included on the travel corridor list to take a private test after five days and leave isolation if a negative result is returned.

The tightening of rules, which comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson plunged the country into a third national lockdown, follows criticism of the lack of screening of international arrivals.

But it will spark fresh troubles for the travel sector, which has been battered by a steep drop in passenger numbers during the pandemic.

This was compounded last month when the EU introduced a ban on UK nationals travelling to the bloc for non-essential purposes.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, described the fresh lockdown restrictions as a “devastating blow” and urged the government to introduce fresh support measures for the sector.

“This must include covering operational losses during the current heightened restrictions and extending all existing forms of support until aviation is able to operate free from the barriers that have prevented any meaningful recovery to date,” she said.

While ministers are tightening rules around travel, they stopped short of banning travel altogether.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday urged the prime minister to close Britain’s borders to prevent new strains of the virus from being imported.