A new Global Travel Taskforce to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel has been launched by the UK government
The Department for Transport and the Department of Health and Social Care have been working with clinicians, health experts and the private testing sector to better understand the practicalities of testing international arrivals into the UK.
The task force, jointly chaired by the Secretaries of State for Transport and Health and Social Care, will consider:
How a testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK.
What steps can be taken to facilitate business and tourist travel through innovative testing models and other non-testing means.
What steps can be taken to increase consumer confidence to support the recovery of international travel.
The task force will work with the travel industry on implementation and identify options to reduce the self-isolation period currently in place. This will include looking at a single test taken after a period of self-isolation, provided by the private sector and at the cost of the passenger.
It will also explore alternative testing models, including pilot schemes with partner countries to determine whether self-isolation could be undertaken pre-departure.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“The current measures at the border have saved lives. Our understanding of the science now means we can intensify efforts to develop options for a testing regime and help reinvigorate our world-leading travel sector.
This new task force will not only help us move towards safer, smoother international travel as we continue to battle this virus but will also support global connectivity – helping facilitate more COVID secure travel whilst protecting the population from imported cases”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock also commented:
“It is vital we do everything we can to control the spread of the virus and our measures at the borders are designed to help keep the country safe, by preventing imported cases of COVID-19.
We know how these measures have a significant impact on people’s lives and on the travel and tourism industries, so we are working hard across government to explore ways to open up international travel in a safe way”.
The group will consult closely with partners from the aviation, travel, healthcare and testing sectors as well as the devolved administrations to implement measures to support the recovery of the travel sector. The task force is expected to put forward their initial recommendations next month.
The current rules around the 14-day self-isolation policy remain in place.