December may bring happy news for travellers in the UK. The government is planning to ease the problems of travellers. They plan to shorten travellers’ quarantine period if sufficient rapid COVID-detection tests are available in the country. The UK government may introduce a test and release system for international travellers, whereby their quarantine period will be short. Yes, at present, the quarantine period is almost 14 days. If the rapid COVID test is available in sufficient quantity, then the quarantine period will only sketch up to one week.
The UK Global Travel Taskforce – a Boon for International Travellers
Not many people know a cross-government Global Travel Taskforce, which works hard to reduce international travellers’ stress. International travellers throughout the world are facing a lot of problems due to new immigration protocols. They are unable to cross international borders like before. Many countries are also delaying the visa process to keep international travellers at bay. As the second wave of COVID-19 has hit the world, all the countries are again in a vigilant mode. They are not eager to take any risk. Some states are also planning to introduce a lockdown. Unlike other countries, the UK government is trying hard to reduce international travellers’ mental stress and hassles. That is positive news for the travellers.
The Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care are supervising the newly formed Global Travel Taskforce. The team is working to give some much-needed relief to the COVID- affected travel industry through new policies drafted to provide a new impetus to international tourism. The task force has come up with many recommendations until now. The first policy is the test and releases regime, aiming to shorten the quarantine period for the passengers arriving in the country. The new rule will apply to those who do not belong to the UK’s ‘travel corridors’ list.
The ‘travel corridors’ list contains countries whose citizens can arrive in the UK without worrying about the quarantine period. And that is because they do not have to be in the self-isolation period.
The travel corridors list is updated time and again as the COVID-19 remains unabated due to people’s careless behaviour. Many individuals are not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing. That is the main problem. Somewhere down the line, people have become frustrated, and they do not care about COVID-19 anymore. They are going out and even planning vacations, which is not safe.
Anyway, the active cases rate has dropped in a few countries. So the UK government has added those countries to the ‘travel corridors’ list. Again, the infection rate has gone up in a few countries. The UK government is removing those countries from the list. Most of the European countries have made it into the list. So, travellers coming from those countries can be happy.
However, the total number of countries on the list has dropped after July due to the recent spike in several countries’ infection rates. Travellers from around sixty countries have to be on a 14 day quarantine period in the UK.
Travellers from Italy Have to Be in Quarantine.
The COVID situation has gone from bad to worse. That is why Italy has been eliminated from the much talked about travel corridors list. Now, what does that mean? It implies that Italian tourists have to be in the self-isolation period, just like others. They have to be in quarantine for fourteen days after reaching the UK. It is a massive blow for the ELT sector. Earlier, the Italian students constituted twenty-seven per cent of the UK ELT sector in 2019. If you look at the overall figure, then Italian students comprise around fourteen per cent of all student
In the past few months, almost five sending markets for UK ELT have dropped from the UK’s travel corridors list. These five countries are France, Saudi Arabia, Spain, China, and Italy. Students from these countries constituted almost fifty per cent of the students in 2019.
What Should You Know about the Test and Release?
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is optimistic that the task force will introduce a new rule on December 1. 2020. The new law will help international travellers to arrive in the Uk without much stress. The law will bring a smile to the face of travellers who are not on the travel corridors list. And that is because they have to be in quarantine for only seven days.
The task force has decided that the passengers have to give a rapid COVID test after completing the self-isolation period. The passengers will have to bear this test’s expense, which will happen a week after arrival. So, international travellers have to give only one test.
The recommendations are likely to be given in November. First, the task force wants to ensure that private organizations can supply sufficient numbers of test kits. The task force is already having discussions with several firms to determine who can adequately provide test kits.
The Aviation Industry Is Not yet Convinced.
The aviation industry is not that happy with the announcement of the task force. They feel that reducing the quarantine period will not be of much help. Travellers are not that much interested in that. The new rule is not enough to lure international travellers into the country. The UK government has to rethink and change their attitude towards international travellers during the pandemic. The aviation industry feels that there should be a credible and affordable pre-departure test. The travellers would much prefer that than the one week self-isolation period.
The aviation industry is sceptical about the test and releases regime. Now, we have to check and see the reaction of international travellers. Do we have to see how they respond to the new rule? Will they be happy and interested to fly to the UK? Or, would they prefer to stay back home? Let us wait and watch.