The government has revealed that it will now be enforcing a mandatory quarantine period for all travellers entering in the UK from abroad. Passengers will be asked to go into quarantine for 14-days upon arrival regardless of where they have flown in from.
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The only country which is excepted from the rule is the Republic of Ireland.
According to the BBC, restrictions are expected to come into practice at the end of the month.
Details regarding how this will be put into action have not yet been released, however, the CEO of Airport Operators Association (AOA) said that airlines and airports are keen to work with the government to determine the best ways of ensuring the health and safety fo both their passengers and staff.
Speaking on BBC News this morning, CEO of AOA, Karen Dee explained: “I think there has been lots of speculation in the press recently and of course transport secretary is on the Andrew Marr show last week. Although we haven’t had any details yet there has been a lot of speculation that there will be a 14-day quarantine for passengers returning to the UK.
“That would have a very big impact for our sector but at the moment we don’t have very much detail on what that would mean.”
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show last week transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “’I think it is important that as we are seeing the numbers decrease and the R rate we hope decrease… that we do ensure that the sacrifices in a sense – social distancing – that we are asking the British people to make are matched by anybody who comes to this country.
“I am actively looking at these issues right now so that when we have infection rates within the country under control we are not importing.”
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He also suggested that new arrivals may be forced to download a contact tracing app onto their smartphones.
However, the AOA says that they still haven’t been given any clear instruction on the methods that will be used, and are keen to work with the government and internationally to develop a clear industry standard for passengers, regardless of where in the world they are flying.
“At the moment we don’t know exactly what the kins of measures will be, we are not medical experts and that’s why we are keen to work with government, and internationally, to say what is the best thing that we can do,” said Ms Dee.
“Is it cleaning and sanitation or hand sanitisers in the airports? Is it face masks and gloves for passengers to avoid touching? Is it some form of temperature checks at the airports or before they travel? Other kinds of testing that might evolve in the next few days or weeks.”
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A number of airports are currently trialling their own measures, with Heathrow putting in place temperature checks and Manchester Airport’s group reportedly asking passengers to wear face masks.
Ms Dee continued: “I think the problem when the lack of clarity means we are unable to plan so its perhaps not surprising that we don’t have that standard agreed and we know that the government is working now very closely, both with the industry and internationally, to look at what the science tells us we should do.”
Heathrow Airport’s Chief executive John Holland-Kaye has already revealed some of the methods being tested at the airport, which will hopefully instil passenger confidence and help the airline industry resume.
The new technology under review includes ultraviolet sanitation, facial recognition with thermostat reading technology and contactless security procedures.
There will also be temperature checks which will reportedly take place at the airport’s immigration halls.
Mr Holland-Kaye, said: “Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy, and to restart the economy, the Government needs to help restart aviation.
“The UK has the world’s third-largest aviation sector offering the platform for the Government to take a lead in agreeing a Common International Standard for aviation health with our main trading partners.
“This Standard is key to minimising transmission of Covid-19 across borders, and the technology we are trialing at Heathrow could be part of the solution.”
However, all of these new measures could change the traditional holiday experience for some time to come.
Patrick Ikhena head of travel at comparethemarket.com, said: “It is likely that once restrictions are eased, international travel will look quite different for passengers – at least for the foreseeable future.
“There are likely to be more checks at airports and other major transportation hubs, which could include temperature checks and the requirement to provide evidence that you do not have COVID-19 before embarking on a flight.
“It is possible that passengers will need to allow considerably more time to arrive at the airport than is currently required.
“As a consequence, we could see a surge in the number of Brits holidaying in the UK. Our latest customer research finds that only 6 percent of Britons are considering a long-haul holiday this winter and only 9 percent are looking at booking a European beach holiday for this summer or autumn, most likely due to a combination of strained household budgets and a wariness over travelling overseas.”
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