NEWS: UK Quarantine could be reduced to 8 days with testing and they ARE now looking at regional airbridges!

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The UK government’s travel policy has had more flip flops than a summer weekend on Bondi Beach! Today we have two more u-turns in policy if they both turn out to be true. 

UK Quarantine could be reduced to 8-10 days with testing

The decision to bring back a 14-day Quarantine for people arriving from Spain including the islands which have a very low level of COVID-19 has been met with dismay by the travel industry and those who had holidays booked.

I am being quite vocal that I believe that this is not the way forward long term. WHO, who always said that travel bans were not the way forward are now being clear in the need to open borders and resume international travel. In a recent press conference they said,

“It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future. Economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume,” 

Instead WHO advocates measures such as face masks, social distancing, and track and trace to control the virus.

Although the government still seems to be flip-flopping all over the place with their travel policy, there is some good news on the horizon According to  The Telegraph, the Government hopes to announce this week a new policy of testing arrivals from high-risk countries that are subject to the 14-day quarantine. The test would be carried out eight days after the traveller lands. If they test negative they will be allowed to come out of self-isolation after a further two days to allow for the results. It is not clear what happens if you can get a test with quicker results?

This knocks at least four days off the 14 day period and depending on how you time your travel, could mean much less time off work. It is still at odds with many other countries that do testing on arrival or within 72 hours of arrival. The government believes that this is safer due to the potential incubation period of the virus. Heathrow was due to be trialling testing on arrival to allow people to avoid quarantine when they got a negative test result. 

In some communications, the government said that there had been travellers returning from Spain with COVID. They said that the imported cases were “statistically significant”. It turns out that 10 people came back from Spain and tested positive. Given that over 600 people a day here test positive, how can they be sure that they even caught Covid-19 in Spain anyway? There are few places in the world that have zero risk of COVID. Being high risk myself, I do believe in safety first but as with anything it needs to be balanced. If we believed in zero risks we would not drive cars or fly anywhere as both have risks attached. Regional travel corridors and testing on arrival are two ways to balance the risks without stopping travel altogether.

 

Now the government says they ARE looking at regional airbridges!

BA launch new winter routes

Tenerife, Canary Islands

I am beginning to think that the government may actually not know what they are doing in terms of travel…… After vigorously defending their last-minute decision to impose quarantine on returning passengers from Spain this weekend, it appears another u-turn may be about to happen. The government had been criticised by travel companies and the Spanish government for including the Balearic and Canary islands in the quarantine and FCO advice against travel. Spain’s current outbreak is mainly confined to the northern region and levels elsewhere are low.

The rate of Spanish cases is shown here in a diagram:

In parliament, today Transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton confirmed that they were considering setting up regional travel corridors to let those travelling from low-risk areas escape quarantine. Previously they had said that this was not going to be considered as it there would be nothing to stop people travelling into higher risk areas once in a country. Errr, you mean exactly as someone could drive from France to Spain now?! Or could fly home from Gibraltar which is not subject to the quarantine?

Baroness Vere said to parliament “For the time being, we are taking the approach by country for border measures but it is the case that it could be that we put them in place for regions in the future. We are not there yet but we are certainly looking at it because it is an appropriate consideration.”

Until there is a vaccine, COVID is sadly here to stay. We need to find safe ways to live with it whilst suppressing it as much as we can. Regional intervention is already the way forward in the UK, so why not apply that to travel to? 

12 Comments on "NEWS: UK Quarantine could be reduced to 8 days with testing and they ARE now looking at regional airbridges!"

  1. The government has no clue what it’s doing.
    Some may even think they are trying to keep money in the country due to the impending car crash that Brexit’s going to be!

  2. Totally agree we have to accept this isn’t going to simply disappear. We have to learn how to continue life as before with some adaptations. Killing the travel industry and economy really isn’t in anyone’s interest.

  3. After being to slow in imposing the initial UK lockdown, the government has done a first rate job in quickly imposing the quarantine on Spain and I hope and believe it will also take swift action in relation to other countries when the numbers of cases is growing exponentially. Foreign holidays are a luxury and there are many beautiful places to visit in UK. We were planning three weeks in Brittany this summer but switched to Devon and Cornwall from which we returned yesterday after a wonderful three weeks. Foreign travel to countries such as Spain where there is a rapid rise in cases should be restricted to essential business even if until the end of 2021. A small price to pay for beating the virus until there is a vaccine. Why put the country at risk so people can indulge in unnecessary luxuries which is the attitude Turning Left for Less appears to be taking.

  4. Sorry Nick but you have no idea what you are talking about. The chances of catching Covid in the UK are statistically higher than catching it in the Canary Islands for example so your logic is totally flawed.

  5. Nick, holidaying anywhere carries a risk and is a luxury not a necessity, that includes within the UK. The Canary Islands have a very low rate of infection, far lower than most of the UK so travel there is less risky than travel within the UK, it’s actually safer than your approach!
    The government is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut in response to public fear whipped up by the media’s relentless negativity and following on from the fair criticism of their failure to act quickly at the start of the pandemic. The lasting impact of this approach will be irreparable economic damage and a more sensible risk based approach such as testing on arrival for lower risk countries paired with quarantine for higher risk countries makes perfect sense. We can’t eliminate the virus without eliminating our economy and our sanity, we can take a more measured approach that promotes recovery whilst protecting the vulnerable as much as possible. A balance needs to be struck.

  6. Dan – I agree completely that “quarantine for higher risk countries makes perfect sense”. That is exactly what has happened with Spain where there has been a marked increase in the number of cases. Exponential increases are the problem and it spirals out of control very quickly. It is also worth noting that the scientists believe that the initial outbreak in UK was Mainly from the variety of virus that was circulating in Spain at the start of the year which has a slightly different code to that in Italy and France. We have to nip this in the bud or the damage to the economy could be far worse. Testing on arrival is problematic due to the incubation period. Why not enjoy a Staycation and pump money into the British economy. We had a wonderful time in the West Country and spent over £3,000 in the UK. Locals were so welcoming and delighted to see local businesses getting back on their feet.

    • I think the pertinent bit was where you said you spent £3000 in the West Country. U.K. capacity for holidays is far more limited and as such it is far more expensive – most people can’t afford £3000 so go abroad for a more affordable holiday.
      I agree travel is a luxury, but the ability to know you can get away from the stress and mental anxiety of this situation is vital. Ever changing and illogical rules really doesn’t do that

  7. “Why not enjoy a Staycation and pump money into the British economy.”

    Because the weather sucks!

  8. Im still amazed at how many people “dont get it”. There is an incubation period. If you pick a dose of covid up at an overcrowded and poorly regulated Spanish airport waiting for your flight back to the UK and are then swabbed on arrival, it will be negative. You cannot convert in a few hours. So you merrily go around shops and pubs – as you did in Spain, gently passing a dose of covid to anyone who comes remotely near you. Wearing a mask will reduce the amount you spray around the place, but droplets will sit on surfaces – tables, counters, chair backs – ready to be picked up. Dont be under any illusion, the wearing of a mask will NOT protect you from getting covid!! For that you need proper FFP3 masks which have to be “fit tested” to ensure it is leakproof – if not then its the hood for you!
    So please, recognise that holiday travel is a luxury; save a bit of money or go visit Devon and Cornwall if you want crowds and wish to blow a small fortune. We have had 3 holidays cancelled so far since April and no way am I booking yet for Phoenix in January or Dallas in March 21. Im considering the Caribbean for Xmas and New Year, but it will take a big change in policy for me to book this and I fully recognise that things can change at short notice.
    Let us hope that travel writers can also recognise that that fact that the quarantine system can be beaten does NOT mean that they should keep referring to it as if endorsing the cheating. Let us hope that passports will be swiped upon arrival and departure of all countries so that our Border Force can see instantly when people have tried to circumvent the safety of the country and that heavy fines will be imposed on people who give not a fig for their own or others safety.
    The UK is not unique in this pandemic – other countries are faring far worse. When we STOP free crossings of our borders, we can knuckle down to UK productivity and start the climb back to normality selling UK goods and services around the world. Remainers will have to learn to get out of bed in the morning and go to work!

    • I will be clear that I am not endorsing anyone skipping quarantine or trying to evade it. And holiday travel is not just a luxury, it sustains a large part of many countries’ economies. In BA alone there are around 45,000 employees in the UK that stand to lose their jobs if we all just decide to just stay in the UK until there is a vaccine or treatment that could be years away. And unless you are currently in Spain, I think I would refrain from calling it poorly regulated. The Spanish have a far stricter policy of social distancing and masks than we do here.

  9. The country with the highest rate in the world is the US, so can someone please tell me why Americans are allowed here, especially when that are banned from most of Europe. Of course we know why, just like Mr Cummings the Donald is one or Boris’s friends. One rule for one, one for the rest of us.

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