‘Keep travel tests or risk hard lockdowns,’ warn critics
After leaks urged Covid exams for absolutely vaccinated arrivals to the UK might be scrapped by the tip of January, the testing trade has warned the transfer might set off “laborious lockdowns”.
At current travellers to the UK should ebook a so-called “day two” take a look at, to be taken on the day of arrival or one of many two following days.
Necessities for a pre-departure take a look at and for the day two take a look at to be a PCR had been dropped earlier this month. They had been introduced in to “purchase time” to restrict the unfold of Omicron.
A supply near the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, informed the Sunday Instances: “We’re eradicating all Covid exams for vaccinated travellers by the tip of January.”
An announcement is anticipated on the identical day because the overview of the “plan B” measures on 26 January.
However Tom Watson, chair of the Laboratory and Testing Business Organisation, mentioned: “The one approach our nation can keep away from laborious lockdowns is by sustaining a strong Covid-testing regime.
“We have now persistently backed enjoyable pointless restrictions however imagine eradicating testing utterly for worldwide journey would weaken these defences.
“Lateral circulate exams are a low-cost approach to make sure we’re capable of detect new variants.”
Mr Watson, former deputy chief of the Labour Get together, quoted the well being secretary, Sajid Javid, as saying: “The vaccine programme, testing programme and surveillance programme are all a part of our wall of defence.”
However Mr Javid additionally mentioned final month that every one exams might be eliminated when the Omicron variant of coronavirus grew to become dominant.
“Very quickly, within the days and weeks that lie forward, if, as I feel is probably going, we see many extra infections and this variant turns into the dominant variant, there will likely be much less must have any sort of journey restrictions in any respect,” he informed the Commons.
Paul Charles, chief government of The PC Company, tweeted: “Don’t purchase any inbound exams when you’re travelling after 1 February.
“Finally the wild-west £1bn-plus non-public take a look at trade is nearing its finish level.”
Final week Eire dropped its demand for a Covid take a look at for absolutely vaccinated arrivals.
If testing is dropped for absolutely vaccinated travellers, the much-disliked UK Passenger Locator Type will proceed to be obligatory for arrivals.
At current this on-line kind requires the traveller to pay for a post-arrival take a look at earlier than it may be accomplished.
Regardless of the discount of self-isolation to 5 days for some folks with Covid in England, The Impartial has been informed that the change won’t have an effect on the 10-day quarantine requirement for unvaccinated arrivals.
The “take a look at to launch” possibility permits travellers to scale back it to 5 days by taking one other paid take a look at with a destructive end result.