The quarantine will be scaled down from 14 to 5 days when the UK government finally announces its intention to jump-start the travel industry under a new ‘test and release’ program.
By relaxing the curbs, passengers returning to the UK from high-risk countries can shorten the isolation period if they test negative on the fifth day of incarceration.
The changes are expected to be confirmed by transportation secretary Grant Shapps later today, Monday, and will be hugely welcomed by tour operators, airlines and airports.
Tests are expected to be expensive – they cost up to £ 150 – but are expected to have a fast turnaround time with results in less than an hour.
The new guidelines are expected to start on December 15 following recommendations from the government’s Global Travel Taskforce.
Other measures likely to be announced include the start of pre-depature Covid testing, eliminating the need for quarantine restrictions.
This would allow passengers to take a test 72 hours before departure. Travel corridors to countries with low infection rates will remain and will be updated weekly.
Measures will be part of the government’s ‘Covid Winter Plan’ to be outlined later in the day.
The changes are reportedly based on analysis of data from more than 105,000 passengers, which found that tests on the fifth day of quarantine found between 83 percent and 90 percent of Covid cases from passengers arriving in Canada, Iceland, France and Jersey.
Meanwhile, Gatwick Airport has announced that a testing facility will be opened later this month that promises to offer “fast and accurate” PCR swab tests, with results available the following day.
The service could assist passengers traveling to destinations and require them to provide proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test.
Gatwick said it could also be used by passengers arriving in the UK to shorten periods of self-isolation, depending on changes in government policy.