UK

Airline shares soar as ministers prepare to slash coronavirus quarantine period

Airline shares soar as ministers prepare to slash coronavirus quarantine period for arrivals in the UK from 14 days to just FIVE from mid-December

  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is set to announce quarantine rules overhaul
  • The self-isolation period for arrivals is in line to be slashed from 14 days to five
  • People from non-exempt countries will be able to take rapid test after five days 

Airline and travel firm shares surged today as ministers prepare to slash the coronavirus quarantine period for UK arrivals from 14 days to just five.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to confirm tomorrow that the new arrangements will come into force from mid-December.

Under the ‘test and release’ scheme, demanded by the industry for months, travellers from countries that do not have safe ‘corridors’ in place with the UK will have to self-isolate for five days.

They can then take a rapid test, and if the result is negative they will be released from the restrictions immediately. 

The value of companies such as EasyJet, British Airways owner IAG and Tui jumped on hopes that holidays and business travel might be boosted soon. 

Under the ‘test and release’ scheme, demanded by the industry for months, travellers to the UK will have to self-isolate for five days before taking a rapid test

The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce, which was launched last month, is understood to have recommended a seven-day quarantine period, with travellers returning from Covid hotspots tested after five days and released two days later.

But ministers persuaded Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty that the increasing reliability of the fast-turnaround tests meant there was no reason they should not be used.

Tests will have to be paid for privately by passengers to avoid increasing pressure on NHS resources. 

A conventional swab test can cost more than £100 if bought privately, but prices for the new quick tests are expected to fall to as little as £5 next year as production is ramped up.

The quarantine regime dealt a major blow to hopes of a revival in the aviation sector when it was introduced in June.

Unless returning from a small number of countries on the quarantine-free travel corridor list, travellers have to self-isolate for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine.

Ministers insist some form of quarantine remains essential to prevent cases from abroad sparking a third wave of the virus next year.

At one point during the summer officials estimated that 10 per cent of all new cases had been brought back by Britons who had been abroad.

Foreign travel is banned except for work or emergency purposes, but that restriction is expected to end when the lockdown is eased on December 2.

The new system will initially be trialled for passengers on flights returning from a small number of destinations. But officials hope it can be rolled out rapidly to cover the whole world if it proves successful.

Ministers are also expected to agree a package to allow the cruise industry to restart.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) is expected to confirm tomorrow that the new arrangements will come into force from December 15

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) is expected to confirm tomorrow that the new arrangements will come into force from December 15

The industry, which is said to be worth £10billion to the UK economy, has been in suspended animation since July when the Foreign Office issued blanket advice against all cruise ship travel following a string of global Covid outbreaks.

The taskforce is expected to suggest that domestic cruises should be allowed to restart from late January, provided operators can show they have stringent testing and infection control procedures and medical facilities to deal with any outbreak.

Foreign cruises could resume in the following months, provided operators agree to take full responsibility for repatriating passengers and crew if they are stranded as a result of an outbreak. 

Earlier this year, the Foreign Office had to spend millions of pounds bringing home 19,000 cruise passengers.

Advertisement


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button