The government has been heavily criticised for its introduction of a 14 days quarantine for all arrivals into the UK some 3 months into the current crisis. The travel industry has condemned the move as the final nail in the coffin for the already beleaguered airlines and holiday companies.
The quarantine requirement was introduced on the 8 June and is due to stay until at least 29 June when the first review will take place. In the meantime, there are some glimmers of hope. The government has openly said it plans to agree “air bridges” with low-risk countries, where quarantine will not be required at either end of the journey.
It has now been revealed which countries are currently or due to be in discussions with the UK government. Most people are likely to want to travel to Europe first, partly due to the requirements to wear a mask for the entire journey. You can read my thoughts on this in my current Forbes article here:
The travel industry has been one of the worst-hit by the coronavirus. Airlines have even grounded entire fleets in some cases. Now that travel is beginning to recover as borders reopen, how will airlines tempt people back? Airlines feel that they need to convince people that travel is safe again.
UK officials are trying to establish air bridges with the following countries:
An announcement is expected on 29 June if these talks have been successful although it is likely to take at least a week before the quarantine is removed between countries. Reviews of quarantine will take place every three weeks.
Scheme for UK airport testing could end quarantine
Travel companies have been calling on the government to find a less blunt instrument than quarantine to allow travel to resume to and from the UK. Swissport and the medical branch of travel company Collinson, are now planning a trial for passengers arriving at UK airports to have the same type of saliva swab test used by the NHS to screen for the coronavirus. The idea would be that if the passenger tested negative they would be allowed to stop the 14-day travel quarantine on receipt of the test result. The trial is due to start at a major UK airport in a couple of weeks.
It would not be free and at around £140 a test, it is more than the average traveller is likely to want to pay. However, for business travellers, companies may well be willing to pay the price for important travel. The tests have to be booked online before travel. The passenger would follow the current procedure filling out details for quarantine. They then visit a travel clinic for the test and receive the result within 24 hours, but with the possibility to have results in as little as 5 hours. The PCR swab test being used is the type used by NHS facilities in the UK.
Would you pay £140 to have a test on return to the UK so you did not have to quarantine for more than 24 hours? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.
HT: BBC News