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Quarantine for travellers testing Covid negative cut to five days Grant Shapps announces

Quarantine for travellers is cut to just five days for anyone who tests negative for Covid, Grant Shapps announces

  • Grant Shapps unveiled new ‘Test to Release’ service starting on December 15
  • Means travellers not from corridor countries only need five day self-isolation if they test negative for Covid
  • Botswana and Saudi Arabia have recently been added to the travel corridors list
  • But the Canary Islands is being removed from exemption over rising cases 

Travellers coming to the UK from locations not on the travel corridor list will only need to self-isolate for five days if they test negative for coronavirus, the Transport Secretary has announced.

In a boost for tourists and business travellers, Grant Shapps today unveiled the new ‘Test to Release’ service, which will come into effect on December 15.

Writing on Twitter, he said passengers could ‘opt-in’ to shorten the self-isolation period to just five days if they receive a negative test result from ‘specific providers’.   

Announcing the shortened self-isolation time for some, the Transport Secretary wrote: ‘From Tues 15th, the new ”Test to Release” service for passengers arriving in England starts. 

Travellers coming to the UK from locations not on the travel corridor list will only need to self-isolate for five days if they test negative for coronavirus, the Transport Secretary has announced

In what is a boost for tourists and business travellers, Grant Shapps unveiled the new 'Test to Release' service, which will come into effect on December 15

In what is a boost for tourists and business travellers, Grant Shapps unveiled the new ‘Test to Release’ service, which will come into effect on December 15

‘This means that all passengers from any location NOT in a Travel Corridor may “opt-in” to shorten self-isolation to 5 days with a negative COVID-19 test result from specific providers. 

However, in what is a major blow for the travel industry, he added that the Canary Islands are being removed from the exemption list because of rising weekly cases and tests.

It means anyone arriving from the popular Spanish resort islands after 4am on Saturday, December 12 will need to go in to self-isolation. 

Writing on Twitter, he said passengers could ‘opt-in’ to ‘shorten self-isolation’ to just five days if they receive a negative test result from ‘specific providers’

Mr Shapps wrote: ‘Data indicates weekly cases and positive tests are increasing in the CANARY ISLANDS and so we are REMOVING them from the #TravelCorridor list to reduce the risk of importing COVID-19.

‘From 4am Sat 12 Dec, if you arrive from these islands you WILL need to self-isolate.’ 

Many firms recorded a surge in bookings for the Canary Islands when they were added to the travel corridors list in October.

Mr Shapps said their removal was due to a rise in weekly cases and positive tests of the virus.

Travellers to mainland Spain already have to isolate on their return to the UK.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘It’s utterly devastating news for the thousands of British travellers who booked to go to the Canaries for Christmas and New Year.

However, in what is a major blow for the travel industry, he added that the Canary Islands is being removed from the exemption list because of rising weekly cases and tests

However, in what is a major blow for the travel industry, he added that the Canary Islands is being removed from the exemption list because of rising weekly cases and tests 

Mr Shapps wrote: ‘Data indicates weekly cases and positive tests are increasing in the CANARY ISLANDS and so we are REMOVING them from the #TravelCorridor list to reduce the risk of importing COVID-19’

‘It’s also a body blow for travel firms who’d seen an uplift in bookings for the winter after the Canaries were added to the travel corridor list.

‘It now means thousands of refunds and lost bookings for a sector that needed the Canaries to help them recover.’

Botswana and Saudi Arabia have been added to the travel corridors list.

Most people returning to the UK from destinations not on the list must self-isolate for 14 days.

This quarantine period can be shortened for people arriving in England from December 15 if they take a negative coronavirus test at least five days after they land.

England has also introduced a quarantine exemption for certain categories of travellers, including people making high-value business trips, sports stars and performing arts professionals.

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