Passengers arriving into Devon and Cornwall by both land and sea from abroad will be able to reduce their self-isolation by up to a week under new plans announced by the Government.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today announced that from December 15, passengers arriving into England from countries not featured on the Government’s travel corridor list will have the option to take a test after five days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing them from the need to isolate.
The Government says the move will give passengers the confidence to book international trips in the knowledge that they can return home and isolate for a shorter period if they have received a negative test.
Those opting into the scheme will have to book and pay for a Covid-19 test from a private provider on the gov.uk list.
The DoT says this is to ensure that NHS Test and Trace testing capacity is protected.
Under the ‘Test to release for international travel’ strategy, passengers arriving into England by plane, ferry or train should book their test before they travel; must complete a passenger locator form; and will still need to self-isolate for five days before taking a test – rather than taking it at their port of arrival.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “We have a plan in place to ensure that our route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster international travel while keeping the public safe.
“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business. By giving people the choice to test on day five, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic.”
The ‘Test to Release’ scheme is announced as the Government introduces new financial support for English airports and ground handlers.
This support, which will be available to commercial airports in England, will address fixed costs and be equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each business, capped at up to £8 million per site, and subject to certain conditions.
This scheme will open in the New Year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The aviation industry is vital to our economy – creating jobs and driving growth- which is why we have supported them throughout this crisis through the job retention scheme, loans and tax deferrals.
“This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.”
The Government says it has considered the evidence which demonstrates that a test after five days of self-isolation provides “materially better results” than just having a test on arrival, as it allows time for the virus, should it be present, to incubate helping reduce the risk of a false negative result.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “Ensuring that safe travel is possible has been a priority for the Global Travel Taskforce.
“This test on day five of the 14-day self-isolation period will identify positive coronavirus cases and allow those who test negative to return to work and see their loved ones while abiding by domestic coronavirus restrictions.
“This will be done at the cost of the traveller to protect the capacity of NHS Test and Trace and ensure that any UK resident who has symptoms is able to get a test.”