Yesterday Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the Government is leading efforts to create new international rules for safe travel during the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic the Government have looked for new ways to adapt and address the challenges the pandemic has brought. The latest development will see Ministers working on new proposals for testing at UK airports and support for international travel, in a move which could reduce quarantine periods and be a significant boost to the aviation sector and the economy as a whole.
Working with health experts, clinicians, the private sector, and across Government departments, Ministers have agreed that a new regime based on private testing following a shorter period of isolation, could meet safety standards while reducing the negative impacts of quarantine.
The announcement comes following calls from many MPs, including Runnymede and Weybridge MP Dr Ben Spencer, to introduce testing in UK airports and reduce the 14 day quarantine period.
Dr Spencer said:
Todays announcement is great news for the aviation sector, and the thousands of jobs and businesses in my constituency which rely upon it. Testing in UK airports can support the government in controlling covid, while also making travel easier and also ensuring those who do travel can return to work sooner by reducing quarantine times.
Since the spring I have been lobbying Government to support the sector, work towards agreeing international safety standards, and introduce solutions, including testing and ways to support sustainable aviation. I am delighted by the progress this announcement represents. However, the Government needs to proceed as quickly as possible and I will continue to press them to bring in these measures to get our planes back in the air protecting jobs and businesses in Runnymede and Weybridge and beyond.
Mr Shapps announced that to further develop this approach a new Global Travel Taskforce has been created which will make recommendations to the Prime Minister no later than early November. Its remit will include developing how a new testing regime for international arrivals could work, ways in which the Government can facilitate international business and tourist travel, and considering how to boost consumer confidence and reduce the barriers to safe and sustainable recovery.