MINISTERS are considering a new testing method for travellers which would cut isolation times.
It comes as holidaymakers on seven Greek islands face a race to get home after they were added to the danger list.
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People returning from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zante from 4am tomorrow will need to quarantine for 14 days.
The new plan, by the travel industry, would see visitors tested 48 hours before arriving in the UK and tested again five days later.
Paul Charles, founder of the PC Agency, said “A person would show a negative certificate on arrival in the UK. Five days later they take a second test, paid for by the traveller or subsidised by the Government, and if it’s clear again, they are free to go.”
Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs yesterday he would look into regional air bridges to European islands. He said: “Through the use of enhanced data we will now be able to pinpoint risk in some of the most popular islands, providing increased flexibility to add or remove them — distinct from the mainland — as infection rates change.
“This development will help boost the UK’s travel industry while continuing to maintain maximum protection to public health, keeping the travelling public safe.”
Publicly, the Government has ruled out any idea of testing to end quarantine — but the new island policy shows a more flexible approach. It gives hope that other islands in Europe will be added to the safe list in the future.
Mr Shapps said: “It is worth noting the policy will not necessarily open up islands immediately.”
He warned the Balearics and Canary Isles would not be opened up as cases were still too high. The travel industry has also called for mass testing at airports to end the quarantine measures.
More than 30 countries, including France and Germany, follow this route, with people only having to quarantine if the test is positive. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Unfortunately, one test at the border doesn’t work because this virus can incubate for a period inside your body without a test being able to pick it up.”
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