Holiday quarantine could be slashed to just eight days after warning two week isolation is 'strangling' economy

QUARANTINE rules for passengers arriving into the UK could be slashed to just eight days amidst warnings that the 14-day rule is “strangling” the economy. 

It comes as businesses and MPs warned Boris Johnson of the colossal damage done to the travel sector by the policy.

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The Mail on Sunday reports that the officials are looking at the option of testing people for the virus eight days after they arrive into the country. 

However, government sources stressed to the paper that no decision has yet been taken. 

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab also told the BBC's 'Andrew Marr Show' this morning that a testing policy for incoming travellers was "under review".

However, he stressed that testing it was "no silver bullet" – and would help "ease up" on quarantine but not eliminate the need for it completely.

Boris Johnson is also said to have told Tory MPs of his hopes for an “infectiousness test” earlier this week, which would reveal patients who had tested positive for the virus but not pass it on to others. 

The plans for an “infectiousness test” were revealed at a meeting of the 1922 Committee, with one attendee remarking that “we were led to believe fast testing is coming down the line”. 

A fast and efficient testing regime could help the government ditch restrictions such as blanket quarantine measures and examine ways to help reopen other industries.

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It comes as a cross-party group of MPs and famous political figures urged the PM to re-think the quarantine policy in a joint letter published today in the Mail on Sunday. 

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote: “The insistence on the current quarantine measures is doing huge harm to the British economy – quite unnecessarily so”.

And former Brexit secretary David Davis said that quarantine measures “risked self-strangulation of our economy”. 

Labour’s former Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis also urged Downing Street to look into better testing options at airports as an answer to "massive, blanket disruption”. 

Heathrow is gearing up in case the Government announces a policy change and has set up the UK's first airport testing facility with capacity to swab 13,000 people a day.

But it will remain closed because of Downing Street's refusal to use the tests as proof travellers won't need to quarantine.

 

 

It comes amidst growing fears of mass redundancies in the travel sector – which has already seen a plunge in revenue during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Rolls-Royce, which makes engines for aircrafts, is set to axe 3,000 employees while popular tour operator Tui has warned of 8,000 job losses globally. 

Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, announced plans to to cut 1,150 jobs on Friday. 

However, the Prime Minister said on Friday that airport testing could give a “false sense of confidence”, and insisted that testing at the point of entry only identifies 7% of positive virus cases. 

He said: “So 93% of the time you could have a real false sense of security, a false sense of confidence when you arrive and take a test.

“That's why the quarantine system that we have has got to be an important part of our repertoire, of our toolbox, in fighting COVID”.

But there are also concerns that incoming travellers are not being sufficiently checked, with less than a third of locator forms examined.

And thousands of Brits could be ignoring "confusing" quarantine rules after coming back from their summer holidays abroad.

The Met Police have received more than 1,000 tips to carry out quarantine checks to make sure holidaymakers are sticking to their two week isolation.

London cops said they have so far visited 840 people with another 301 planned, to check on those quarantining after returning from abroad, reports The Guardian.

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