20 minute test solution to travel quarantine
A quick 20-minute test instead of a 14-day quarantine is being considered by UK ministers ahead of the summer holidays opening up for international travel.
The new proposal hopes to allow British residents to have a holiday abroad this year without needing to self-isolate for two weeks when returning to the country.
The 14-day quarantine, which was confirmed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, is to be enforced by June 8, affecting both tourists and British nationals.
However, the new test could take less than half an hour to confirm if the traveller has the virus meaning they wouldn't need to isolate for two weeks.
A Department for Transport source told the UK Telegraph: "What is being mooted is a mutually recognised test where a foreign businessman, say, has a test a day before flying that is accredited."
They added that it would allow "people to travel but maintain public health".
Other countries are already offering tests for airport arrivals to swerve the need for two-week quarantines.
Iceland will allow tourists to take a 24-hour test as soon as they land from June 15, which, if testing negative, will let them enter the country without a 14-day quarantine.
Vienna Airport charges travellers $A305 to take a coronavirus test which takes up to three hours and will let them avoid the two-week quarantine if it isn't positive.
Emirates is the first airline to introduce quick COVID-19 blood tests, which take just 10 minutes, after a trial before a flight from Dubai to Tunisia.
The proposal of a quick test follows an open letter from more than 70 UK travel firms calling for the 14-day quarantine to be scrapped.
The letter, which includes tour operator Mr & Mrs Smith as well as luxury hotels The Ritz and Hyatt Regency, said, "The very last thing the travel industry needs is a mandatory quarantine imposed on all arriving passengers which will deter foreign visitors from coming here."
It added that it will also "deter UK visitors from travelling abroad, and most likely cause other countries to impose reciprocal quarantine requirements on British visitors".
France has already warned they would enforce similar measures in response to the UK guidelines.
A spokesperson for France's Interior Minister said: "We take note of the British government's decision and we regret it.
"France is ready to put in place a reciprocal measure as soon as the system comes into force on the British side."
While the open letter praised the government for handling the pandemic, they also warned that the quarantine period wasn't enforced during the peak of the crisis, when international travel was still at high levels.
The letter continued: "Many people urged the government to impose quarantine regulations during the early phases of COVID-19.
"Instead, no action was taken and flights from infected countries were allowed to land, disgorging thousands of potentially affected passengers into the wider community."
In Australia, there's hope of a trans-Tasman travel bubble to be opened in the next few months. Under the plan, which would also scrap the need for a quarantine period, residents of both nations would be able to travel across the ditch for recreational purposes.
Auckland airport executive Scott Tasker, fellow co-chair of the safe border group in New Zealand, said both countries had worked hard to limit the spread of the virus.
"We are very fortunate to now be in a position where our governments can even contemplate the safe reopening of the trans-Tasman border, for the benefit of our communities and economies," he toldThe Guardian.
"Our aim is to put forward a detailed set of recommendations that safely manage any health risks, while also allowing Kiwis and Australians to travel to each country without the need for a 14-day quarantine."
UK airlines have already slammed the two-week isolation measures, with Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary calling it "idiotic and unimplementable".
British Airways warned that their return to the skies in July could be delayed by the quarantine too.
Another option being considered are "air bridges" which are an agreement between two countries to let nationals travel between them without needing to quarantine for 14 days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government is looking at air bridges with other countries earlier this week.
Portugal and Greece are two countries being considered to join up with the UK, amid hopes they could start as soon as next month.
Travel corridors between the UK and Spain could open between destinations such as Birmingham and Majorca first, if they have lower cases of coronavirus.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission
Originally published as 20 minute test solution to travel quarantine