From next week passengers arriving in England from all international destinations will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.
UK transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that inbound passengers will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus, such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa.
According to Shapps, pre-departure testing will protect travel and will provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10 day self-isolation for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to England.
Passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list must still self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their pre-departure test result to provide further robust protection from those travelling from high-risk countries.
Shapps said, “Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.”
Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, added, “We have long been an advocate of pre-departure testing and today’s government announcement brings us in line with many other countries and closer to having a consistent, internationally coordinated pre-departure testing regime.
“When current lockdown restrictions are eased, and infection rates decrease, pre-departure testing could ultimately encourage frequent international travel to restart by eliminating the need for arriving passengers to quarantine. It remains important however that any tests are affordable for passengers and that these arrangements are temporary and are withdrawn at the earliest opportunity when public health conditions permit.
“We also continue to ask Government to announce a comprehensive support package for aviation to help us protect jobs. It is vital that critical national infrastructure such as airports are able to thrive and provide the international connectivity required to ensure Britain remains open for trade and business as we enter the post-Brexit era.”
Passengers will be required to show their negative test result before boarding, and transport operators will deny boarding if necessary. On arrival back into the UK, border force will check passengers test results through the current spot check regime, to ensure that individuals are compliant with the new rules, and passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of £500.