Government defends pre-arrival tests
The government has defended its decision to impose pre-flight Covid-19 tests for all travellers entering the country from Tuesday.
Tests are required within 48 hours of departure regardless of vaccination status.
"We will always get the Goldilocks criticism of too much or too little, and I think we’ve taken the right approach," Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News.
"We’ve focused on the vaccines and boosters and we’ve got a third of the populations over 12 with a third vaccine injection," he said.
The new pre-arrival test was announced on Saturday by Health Secretary Sajid Javid only a day after the transport secretary said it was unlikely to happen.
Grant Shapps had said pre-departure testing could ‘kill off’ the travel industry.
Industry leaders are now using that comment to ramp up pressure for financial support.
"The blanket reintroduction of testing to enter the UK, on top of the current regime of isolation and PCR testing on arrival is completely out of step with the rest of the world," British Airways said.
"It has come as a blow to the travel industry and to those holidaymakers who are abroad right now who didn’t factor into their plans, or budget, the requirement for a Covid-19 test before they fly home," said ABTA chairman Alistair Rowland.
Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, said the move is too little, too late.
"If Omicron is here in the UK, and it certainly is, if there’s community transmission in the UK, and it certainly looks that way, then it’s that community transmission that will drive a next wave," he said.
"I think it’s too late to make a material difference to the course of the Omicron wave if we’re going to have one."
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