The Government last night announced that from 15 December passenger arriving into the UK from high risk countries will have the option to pay for a private test to reduce the quarantine period. If the test, to be taken 5 days after arrival, is negative, passengers will no longer have to quarantine – more than halving the current isolation requirement.
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced the new policy, ‘Test to release for international travel’ will require passengers arriving into England by plane, ferry or train to book test before they travel. The announcement also included news of financial support for the UK’s airports, many of which have been struggling due to low passenger numbers. The support scheme, which will open in the New Year, will be equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each business, capped at up to £8 million per site. More information on the announcement is available here.
Dr Ben Spencer MP, who has been campaigning on behalf of local residents and businesses working aviation sector, welcomed the announcement:
This is absolutely fantastic news for everyone in Runnymede and Weybridge working in the aviation sector or dependent on its success. Air corridors were a useful tool but with frequent changes they could not provide the stability the sector and passengers need to travel with confidence. Passenger testing to reduce quarantine periods is a huge step to be able to restore this confidence and get more of our planes back in the air.
I am delighted the Government is supporting the thousands of jobs and businesses which rely on our aviation industry, and hope this is the first step towards a strong long term recovery for the sector.
Dr Spencer has also been calling for internationally agreed safety standards and direct government support for the sector, to be linked to improvements in sustainable and more environmentally friendly air travel. More information regarding his campaign is available here.