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New Year travel could be saved as Transport Secretary urges daily testing in place of quarantine

Grant Shapps says rapid tests could 'open the door' to people looking to go abroad or visit the UK

11/24/2020 10:38:00 AM

Grant Shapps says rapid tests could 'open the door' to people looking to go abroad or visit the UK

Grant Shapps says rapid tests could 'open the door' to people looking to go abroad or visit the UK

Mr Shapps said he wanted to move to a rapid-testing regime in the New Year which would mean travellers arriving in the UK would no longer have to self-isolate.He believed this could be achieved through daily “lateral flow” tests that are being used in mass testing pilot schemes in Liverpool and other cities and provide which results within 30 minutes.

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His pledge, in an interview with The Telegraph, came as he unveiled the “first step” towards such quarantine-free travel with the introduction, from December 15, of a single test-and-release scheme on the fifth day after arriving in the UK.This will reduce quarantine by up to nine days if the test results come back negative and could enable relatives living abroad in high-risk countries to visit families in the UK in time for Christmas as well as cutting self-isolation for those returning from Christmas visits to get back to work or school.

Mr Shapps said: “It’s a third of the time, so I think the travel industry will benefit massively. A lot of people I have spoken to want to travel but can’t afford to self-isolate for two weeks. That changes when it is five or six days or even seven days. So I think this will open the door to people looking to travel.

“I also think it is a stepping stone to the next stage which is lateral flow testing so you don’t have to quarantine at all. You just test every day for a week. We know that is coming but we’re not going to get that going until the New Year and then finally there will be the vaccine to take us out of this.”

Mr Shapps cautioned that the rapid “lateral flow” tests were “not quite there” with the “specificity” required to be approved for use by the Government to sidestep quarantine but the technology was “improving” and companies were aiming for the new year to reach the “required standards.”

Under the December 15 scheme, travellers arriving in the UK will be able to book their day five tests in advance from a list of approved companies to be published by the Government.They are expected to include fast loop-mediated isothermal amplification (Lamp) tests, which cost up to £80 and return results in an hour, and 'gold standard' polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which will cost up to £180.

Travellers are expected to be able to post their tests, attend private test sites or have them couriered. Mr Shapps was, however, sceptical about pre-departure tests.He also announced £100 million financial aid for airports, up to £8 million for each site. And he signalled that cruise holidays could return in the New Year if the industry agreed to foot the costs of repatriation.

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The moves were welcomed by the aviation industry.Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee said: “UK airports have been amongst the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic and these announcements are a much-needed boost as aviation looks to bounce back from the greatest challenge it has ever faced."

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said: “This is a hugely welcome step that will begin the process of opening up international travel and restarting UK aviation. It is a good start and by more than halving the quarantine period we should see demand tentatively return and more routes and destinations become viable once again.

"That said, a test at day 5 does not get rid of quarantine and that’s why we look forward to working with Government to move towards a pre-departure or domestic testing regime that can remove safely the need for self-isolation altogether, as quickly as possible.

"This is the only way we’re going to comprehensively reopen the market. But, with this announcement there is now light at the end of the tunnel not just for carriers and UK aviation but consumers looking to get away at Christmas and beyond.” Read more: The Telegraph »

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S E Asia has lower case and deaths because they have stopped international travel Travel abroad get some other pathogen. Hopeing they'll have a cure on the shelf when you get back. You'll need more than a test then? That would be very stupid.just wait ffs And with 2.3% operational false positives (government's own figures) could also slam it shut.

in his constituency the Local Council have told me you need no licence/reguations to sell/serve Alcohol to paying public.Should ease stress on hospitality in his area. .Could be a changer for hospitality in area DM for Story pubs breweries Are the private testing companies owned by your pals by any chance you bell end