UK forms task force to explore Covid-19 testing for arrivals

9 October 2020 (Last Updated October 9th, 2020 14:32)

The UK has established a new task force to explore ways of implementing Covid-19 testing for international travellers arriving in the country.

UK forms task force to explore Covid-19 testing for arrivals
British Airways aircraft at Heathrow Terminal 5C. Credit: Kenneth Iwelumo.

The UK has established a new task force to explore ways of implementing Covid-19 testing for international travellers arriving in the country.

The move comes after airlines and airports called on the government to introduce a testing regime that will provide some flexibility to the current quarantine system and support the recovery of the aviation sector.

All international travellers arriving in the UK are required to go for a 14-day self-isolation. However, arrivals from some destinations are exempted from this quarantine.

Led by transport secretary Grant Shapps and health secretary Matt Hancock, the newly formed task force will work to evaluate single and double testing regimes.

A single-test approach involves undergoing a test several days into the self-isolation period while the double-test model includes an earlier test when the person enters the UK.

Shapps was quoted by the publication as saying: “The government does not support the use of a single test on arrival as an alternative to self-isolation.

“However, a combination of self-isolation and testing is promising.”

In addition, the group will work to reach an agreement that will include all four nations in the UK.

The recommendations are expected to be submitted before the UK Prime Minister by early next month, The Guardian reported.

Following the announcement, several stakeholders in the aviation sector, including Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airports Group, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic, appreciated the move and said that it will help in protecting jobs.

They also called for a swift implementation of the system.

The UK has confirmed more than 564,000 Covid-19 cases as of 9 October. The death toll crossed 42,000.