Testing arrivals in UK could cut quarantine time, think tank claims

Testing arrivals in UK could cut quarantine time, think tank claims

Testing every passenger arriving in Britain could cut quarantine time from 14 days to five, think tank claims

  • A five-day quarantine period would ‘allow for an acceptable level of risk’
  • Would allow holidaymakers to include 5 days of quarantine in annual leave
  • Proposals were drawn up by think tank Institute for Global Change

Testing all passengers arriving into the UK could cut the quarantine period from 14 days to five, a think tank claims.

Under proposals drawn up by Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change, travellers would be tested five days after arriving – with those who return a negative result freed from self-isolation.

The organisation cites studies suggesting tests eight days after infection are 80 per cent accurate, and those three days from infection are 68 per cent accurate.

A five-day quarantine period would ‘allow for an acceptable level of risk’ in light of this, they say, and account for those who contract the virus near the end of their holiday. 

Testing all passengers arriving into the UK could cut the quarantine period from 14 days to five, a think tank claims. Above, passengers arrive at Heathrow airport 

Travellers who test positive or have symptoms would still have to quarantine for 14 days.

The scheme would encourage mass travel and allow holidaymakers to include the five days of quarantine in their annual leave.

The report adds: ‘Over time, as tests become quicker and more accurate, this quarantine period should be reduced further still. The ultimate objective is for travellers to be tested on arrival, receive their results almost instantly and use this to inform quarantine requirements.’ Travel and aviation bosses are pushing mass testing as an alternative to blanket quarantine, but any scheme will require legislative changes.

Heathrow is among airports which have begun to build airside testing areas in the hope ministers will change their approach.

The Blair Institute report also calls for greater transparency around the Government’s ‘opaque and haphazard’ decision making on travel corridors. It suggests the criteria for deciding a country’s risk level should be made publicly available.

At the moment, the travel corridor status is determined by the Joint Biosecurity Centre – but this organisation has no public website and feeds information directly to ministers. Instead, the report calls for a new JBC website with a traffic light system determining the risk of each country.

The report says: ‘We recommend testing returning travellers after five days to reduce quarantine periods and allow this time to be baked into planned annual leave.

‘More effective communication of travel-corridor status, centred around a traffic-light system, would reduce confusion and ensure that travellers have enough warning when the designation of a destination was due to change.’

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