Brits & tourists could be ‘tested on arrival’ at airports under scheme being considered
BRITS and tourists could be “tested on arrival” at airports under a scheme being considered by ministers.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been discussing passenger testing with airport handling firm Swissport who are trialling schemes in the UK.
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Swissport wants to offer saliva swab tests to arriving travellers before going home or to a hotel to begin self-isolation.
The test result would be known in no more than 24 hours – if it were positive, the passenger would contact the test-and-trace service and complete the two weeks of self-isolation.
Travellers who test negative, the company hopes, will be free to continue life as normal. The test will cost around £140.
Mr Shapps said he was working with Heathrow and other airports to introduce measures and that he would announce them at the next review of the quarantine policy in around three weeks.
He said: “It is very important that we can ensure that we can provide reassurance to passengers, but also provide something useful with the screening beyond just asking people to take a temperature check.
“We are actively working with Heathrow and other airports to provide exactly those types of schemes in place.”
Today the Government will announce which countries have formed air bridges with England – with at least 50 on the list of safe destinations.
France, Spain and Germany have all been confirmed to be on the list.
It will mean that travellers won’t need to isolate for two weeks at home after their return from a holiday from July 10.
Mr Shapps said: “Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation.
“Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.”
Travel advice is set to be changed too – scrapping the advice which says it should only be essential.
The air bridges are likely to include most countries in Europe and beyond.
But the air bridges plans faced a last minute hitch as ministers scrambled to reassure Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the measures, and don’t appear to have convinced their counterparts to sign up.
No10 held meetings with the devolved administrations that are cautious about abandoning the border quarantine policy.
Nicola Sturgeon was said to be “really objecting” to lifting the measures without being properly consulted.
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Speaking in the Commons Tory MP Felicity Buchan asked the Transport Secretary if he would back a Covid-19 testing scheme proposed by Collinson and Swissport.
Mr Shapps replied: “She will be interested to hear I am indeed in touch with Swissport and following those trials and proposals very carefully.
“As I indicated in a question or two back, we do believe it’s important to be able to provide international standards and that may well include specific types of testing – so the answer is yes.”
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