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Published on Friday, January 15, 2021

Boris Johnson shuts off all travel corridors

The UK will remove all remaining countries from the travel corridor from Monday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson used this afternoon's Downing Street briefing to announce all corridors will be temporarily closed as the government battles to contain new variants of Covid. 

It will apply across the UK from 4am Monday.

It means anyone entering the UK from any country will have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, in addition to presenting a negative Covid test.

Incoming passengers will still have the test-to-release option where they can take a test after five days to release themselves from quarantine early. 

Johnson said enforcement at the borders will also be stepped up.

The government has already banned travellers from South America and Portugal following the emergence of a worrying strain of Covid in Brazil.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: "Travel Corridors assess public health risk from the original SARS-COV-2, but it's impossible for the Joint Biosecurity Centre to provide live scientific updates to predict which countries or regions will now originate new variants. Travel Corridors are therefore suspended for now."

He added: "There will be more enforcement checks & fewer exemptions. International arrivals will need to have a negative COVID-19 test & self-isolate for 10 days or Test to Release after 5. This action will slow the spread of new variants whilst millions receive their vaccinations."

The development to suspend the travel corridor system drew an immediate response from UKinbound which described the move as understandable.

"Consumer safety is paramount and although the removal of all travel corridors is regrettable, given the current trajectory of the virus it's an understandable decision," Chief Executive Joss Croft said.

"With our borders effectively closed, the Government needs to provide urgent, tailored support for the inbound tourism industry. It simply cannot afford to continue excluding it from support channels, given its propensity to aid the UK's economic recovery when we can travel again.

"To save the summer season, it's also imperative that Government signals that these new measures are only temporary, and that the Government consults with industry to put in place a clear roadmap to reopen the sector, when it's safe to do so."

The Scottish Passenger Agents' Association also accepted the move, but warned there needed to be a clear strategy for getting the UK travelling again.

"We are wholly supportive of measures taken to protect the health of everyone in the UK. There were few travel corridors left open for UK travellers, so we've been moving towards this state for some time now," SPAA Chief Executive Joanne Dooey said. 

"The vitally important step that needs to be taken now is for the UK and Scottish governments to work with our industry to develop a robust strategy for the restarting of travel to and from the UK.

"We need a clear and credible route map for recovery which covers exactly what testing protocols will be and how testing will be managed.

"Any recovery will be complicated and lengthy but we need high level agreement of the processes for this."

Airlines UK Chief Executive Tim Alderslade added: "Travel corridors were a lifeline for the industry last summer and the Government were right to bring them in when they did. But things change and there's no doubting this is a serious health emergency and Ministers need to act to keep borders safe and the public protected.

"We therefore support this latest measure, on the assumption that we will work with Government - when the time is right - to remove these restrictions when it is safe to do so and start to open up our sector again, to support the UK's economic recovery."  

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