Government making ‘very good progress’ on testing regime for travellers – Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has insisted the Government is making “very good progress” in developing a testing regime to reduce the 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals.

The Cabinet minister also claimed the mass testing programme launched in Liverpool last week gives “hope for optimism” that quarantine-free travel could be possible.

People arriving in the UK from countries without a travel corridor are required to self-isolate for 14 days in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The aviation industry has repeatedly called for these restrictions to be eased for people who test negative for Covid-19.

Mr Shapps is co-chairman of the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce, which was set up last month to consider measures to support the sector.

In a speech to the annual conference of trade body the Airport Operators Association, he said: “I want you to know that we’ve been making very good progress on a test to release programme, to launch once we’re out of this lockdown.

“This will consist of a single test for arrivals into the UK provided by the private sector at a cost to the passenger, allowing us a much-reduced period of self-isolation.

“Beyond the lockdown, this should encourage more people to be able to book flights with confidence, knowing there is an option which allows them to shorten self-isolation if they’re going somewhere which isn’t in – or does become outside – a travel corridor.”

Mr Shapps said the taskforce – which is due to make its initial recommendations by the end of this month – has been “working extensively” with health experts and the private testing sector on the new regime.

He added: “We will report to the Prime Minister, as promised, with recommendations on how we can support the recovery of international tourism and travel, and of course increase consumer confidence.”

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