March 3, 2024

Testing must be ‘emergency measure only’

The travel industry is urging the UK Government to make sure the new traveller testing requirement, coming into force on Friday, is only an emergency measure.

At present there is no time limit set on the new rules, which require all arriving passengers to take a Covid test up to three days before departure and provide evidence of a negative result before they travel.

Travellers will still need to quarantine for 10 days unless they are arriving from a destination on the UK’s ‘safe list’, or they take a second test on day five of their isolation and it comes back negative.

In its announcement this week, the Department of Transport said: “Measures are likely to be in place until the end of the current lockdown, although a review will take place before the end of that period.”

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said the travel sector has been lobbying for pre-departure testing but this was always predicated on the Government removing or reducing the quarantine period at the same time.

“Now we have both quarantine and pre-departure testing. That’s why this new policy needs to be a time-limited, emergency measure only, in place not a second longer than necessary, and with a proper review mechanism once lockdown comes to an end,” he said.

“The focus must be on returning travel to normal as quickly as possible and removing the need to quarantine or take a test as the UK population is vaccinated.”