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British Parliamentarians Want Airport Testing Over COVID-19 Quarantine

UK Border control is seen in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall - RTX2EA7V

Eighty British members of parliament are demanding the government adopt a plan to offer testing to foreign travelers at airports, instead of mandating visitors quarantine for two weeks. The group are concerned that without effective COVID-19 pandemic controls, travelers will not come to the country, and the economy will lag.

The fight over Britain’s borders is coming to the government, after a group of parliamentarians demand the prime minister work towards offering COVID-19 tests at the country’s airport. The Telegraph reports 80 members of parliament have sent letters to the prime minister to demand airport testing begin.

Lawmakers Worry About Stagnant Economy Due to Lockdowns

In their letter, the group is setting out a 10-point travel reopening plan – the key aspect of which is offering rapid testing to visitors at airports. Without a way around the mandatory 14-day quarantine, the group worries that both economic gains from travel and commerce could be stunted.

“Without testing, we risk not only limiting leisure travel but also damaging our aspirations for a truly global Britain,” the group writes in their letter to prime minister Boris Johnson. “With many of our current and future trading partners currently subject to a 14-day quarantine we are sending precisely the wrong message at the wrong time.”

The call for finding ways to end the COVID-19 pandemic-induced quarantine comes as other countries continue to force British travelers into quarantine. The United States still requires Britons to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, while France is reported to re-start their quarantine requirements for British citizens arriving in the European country.

The group also points to Germany as a country which has successfully managed to offer COVID-19 testing to arriving passengers. According to German public broadcaster DW, the nation introduced mandatory tests for flyers upon arrival in July 2020, with positive reviews from passengers.

Without an alternative to the 14-day quarantine window, the lawmakers say that over 780,000 jobs could be affected because travelers are being discouraged to travel. In addition to opening low-risk regional avenues into the nation, the group wants the government to sanction testing for arrivals at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

The prime minister’s office has not responded to the report or letter sent from members of parliament

Heathrow Plan Could be Ready to Open for Flyers

The letter from the members of parliament comes after London Heathrow Airport already fronted a plan to offer testing for arriving passengers. Working with two airport services company, the airport says flyers could make appointments to get testing on arrival, and get results within hours instead of days. Heathrow and their stakeholders say the government needs to approve their plan before it can be offered as a formal alternative to the quarantine.

sfoeuroflyer September 1, 2020

So get with it! And by the way, set an example for the rest of Europe. Quarantine is at least a century behind the times. Frankly, the test should be the of the immediate result variety. Yes, it is not quite as sensitive as the full blown PCR, but is good enough. Frankly there is less danger from that than there is with a quarantine (remember the quarantine person still has to interact with others for transport, hotel, meals etc). Common sense says do something that is reasonable. If you hold out for perfect, you will do more harm than good.