UK tourists may be stranded abroad if test-to-fly rule introduced


1000’s of Britons concern being trapped across the globe by the looming menace of a 72-hour test-to-fly rule coming in – as these jetting in right now spoke of their disbelief at no laws but being in place. 

Boris Johnson and his government have been accused of ‘dithering in a disaster’ after asserting the laws, however then failing to carry them in.

As an alternative passengers from Indonesia, Dubai, Egypt and Africa have been allowed in at Heathrow right now with no exams – the identical day a record-high 62,322 new instances and 1,041 deaths have been introduced.

The PM has been accused of leaving a ‘substantial hole within the nation’s defences’ by delaying guidelines on folks needing a damaging Covid end result earlier than coming into the UK.

And households attempting to fly house to the nation have been left in demanding limbo because the clock counts down on their airplane occasions – however not clue whether or not they want a 72-hour check to embark.

1000’s of passengers have arrived at Heathrow over the previous few days, with full knowledge not but out there however sources on the airport saying the determine wouldn’t be within the tens of 1000’s. 

One mom, who’s at present in Tenerife, is due again and mentioned folks wanted to be given discover of recent laws.

Nada Hanafi, 23, PhD student at University of Greenwich who flew back today from Egypt

Nada Hanafi, 23, PhD pupil at College of Greenwich who flew again right now from Egypt

Laura Kelly, 19, University student of Wolverhampton flying back from Belfast today

Laura Kelly, 19, College pupil of Wolverhampton flying again from Belfast right now

Hilary Bush, 60, flying from Phoenix, USA to UK to visit her 99 year old father in Birmingham

Hilary Bush, 60, flying from Phoenix, USA to UK to go to her 99 12 months previous father in Birmingham

She instructed MailOnline: ‘I used to be resulting from fly again to Manchester nonetheless they’ve cancelled that flight so I’m going on Saturday.

‘I’d greater than welcome a system whereby ALL passengers into the UK are PCR examined.

Nonetheless, clearly folks want enough discover – I believe every week to 10 days is enough.

I want the federal government would cease dithering we’re in a disaster. To speak solely of foreigners requiring a PCR check is ludicrous because the UK has the worst instances and if everybody coming in has had a check then hopefully there may be much less likelihood of one more variant coming into the UK.’

The case was the identical additional afield in Barbados the place 1000’s of British holidaymakers traveled when the Tier system had allowed it.

One frightened passenger mentioned: ‘They’d danger getting caught right here if the Authorities all of the sudden introduces a testing earlier than departure requirement

‘The only real laboratory on the island is Authorities operated. They have been struggling already once we arrived, at a time when there was no native transmission on the island and after they have been solely testing inbound arrivals.

‘We had a turnaround time of 48 hours on our check, however I heard of plenty of instances the place outcomes took 3-4 days to acquire at the moment already

Edwin Tokpa, 45, who flew back from Libya, Africa, thought there should have been tests

Edwin Tokpa, 45, who flew again from Libya, Africa, thought there ought to have been exams

A healthcare worker takes a nasal swab sample of a man at a testing site at Brussels Airport

A healthcare employee takes a nasal swab pattern of a person at a testing website at Brussels Airport

Zahawi says Covid exams at airports ‘pointless’ in clashes with Piers Morgan on ITV

Nadhim Zahawi engaged in brutal clashes with Piers Morgan right now over the federal government’s Covid border controls.

The vaccines minister was slammed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain as he insisted it could be ‘pointless’ to check folks at UK airports.

In a vicious rebuke, Morgan mentioned: ‘We’ve, for inexplicable causes, to anybody with a mind… all through this pandemic resolutely refused to check folks after they arrive at our border, nor have we required anyone to have a check to be damaging after they get right here.

‘Are you aware how many individuals we now have examined at our border?’

Mr Zahawi mentioned: ‘The reply is you do not take a check on the border as a result of it is pointless.’

Morgan added: ‘So the reply is zero… we do not check folks, any of our borders after they are available in.

‘Secondly, we now have by no means required anyone to have a check, and to check damaging earlier than they get on a airplane to our nation, not like nearly each different nation on this planet.’

Mr Zahawi mentioned: ‘For those who ask the scientists – Chris Whitty and Jonathan Van-Tam – that check on the border is close to pointless as a result of that individual could also be exhibiting no signs, could check damaging and two days later be constructive.’

‘Now the island is doing elevated testing of its native inhabitants on account of the jail outbreak. I do not know what the present common check turnaround occasions are, however I’m fairly positive they’re at or above 72 hours. And Barbados is arguably among the best outfitted Caribbean islands with regards to testing with their one state-of-the-art lab.’

At Heathrow Airport there was disbelief as passengers from around the globe have been allowed via with none exams regardless of the excessive instances.

Masters pupil Stephen Pheo – who travelled from Indonesia to the UK to proceed learning – defined how he was ‘very involved’ right now that passengers weren’t inspired to take a Covid check earlier than worldwide flights.

The 25-year-old Central Saint Martins School pupil mentioned: ‘They did not ask me to have a check, it wasn’t necessary to be able to journey however I had one myself simply to be protected. I landed right now from Dubai however I’ve travelled from Indonesia.

‘In Indonesia we now have to have a check, it is actually odd that you do not have that right here within the UK. I believe it is very regarding, loopy in reality.’

Equally, Derry woman Laura Kelly thought it was ‘bizarre’ that she was not required to have a check earlier than flying again to check.

The paramedic science pupil on the College of Wolverhampton mentioned: ‘I’ve to get a check after I return to college as a result of I’m a pupil, however I did not must get a check to fly again from Belfast right now.

‘Our uni is offering exams for us however I believed it was bizarre that you did not have to get one earlier than taking a flight as I heard the Authorities had made it necessary. There is not any checks or something even coming via arrivals.’

Accountant Gigi O had spent six days basking within the Dubai solar together with her sister after a drizzly Christmas within the UK, and described the shortage of testing as ‘mad.’

The 28-year-old from Kent mentioned: ‘We’ve not needed to have a check to return again into the UK, no-one even checked if we had accomplished the shape, it is simply so lax in contrast with Dubai – it is fairly dangerous.

Boris Johnson

Keir Starmer

Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer took purpose on the PM (each pictured above)  within the Commons right now as politicians returned to vote on the brand new lockdown guidelines.

‘We needed to do a personal check to get to Dubai. It value £160 since you wanted a certificates, they really checked you are doing the best factor.

‘I wasn’t frightened about with the ability to get again into the nation as airports have not shut because the first nationwide lockdown began the primary time. It is only a bit mad over right here to be sincere.’

Learning a PhD on the College of Greenwich, Nada Hanafi equally didn’t have a coronavirus check earlier than travelling again from her house nation of Egypt.

The 23-year-old mentioned: ‘I’ve simply arrived within the UK, I spent about 20 days in Egypt over the Christmas break visiting my household.

‘I did not must have a check to return again into the UK, I did a check earlier than travelling to Egypt and I’m planning on doing a check close to to my college lodging in order that I’m exempt from 14 days quarantine.

‘I wasn’t frightened about getting again to England with the lockdown, I used to be right here when there was a earlier lockdown and I’m conversant in the scenario. Flights nonetheless come and go.’

Hilary Bush had travelled from Phoenix, Arizona, USA to Britain for a 3 week keep to go to her sickly 99-year-old father in Birmingham and was not required to take a check for the lengthy haul flight.

The 60-year-old homemaker mentioned: ‘I dwell within the USA and I did not must have a check to get throughout the border nevertheless it would not fear me as a result of the check is just nearly as good because the time you get it, you can be infectious the following day.

‘I am coming again to see my father who’s in hospital, however he is nearly 100 so he is doing properly actually. I’ve to have a check to get again into America, and Amsterdam has launched it so my flight was modified to undergo Los Angeles as an alternative.’

Businessman Edwin Tokpa had travelled from Liberia, Africa to Heathrow however defined he didn’t have a coronavirus check.

The 45-year-old mentioned: ‘I landed this morning from Africa, it is extremely unusual that we do not have to get examined. I’m positive that almost all international locations are implementing the exams.’

Additionally on the Belfast flight to Heathrow was 20-year-old Ross Stew who was not examined. The Military man mentioned: ‘We have simply landed and we did not must have a check to return again. It would not actually concern me. We’re getting examined as soon as we get again to work simply outdoors London at our Military base.’

An American man sporting a flat cap – who needed to stay nameless – defined that he did not must have a check to get into the UK from Los Angeles. 

Labour analysis suggested three in every 100 UK arrivals are checked to ensure they are complying with quarantine measures

Labour evaluation instructed three in each 100 UK arrivals are checked to make sure they’re complying with quarantine measures  

Nick Thomas-Symonds

Priti Patel

Shadow house secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has written to Priti Patel to demand pressing enchancment to the journey quarantine programme

‘They took our temperature in LA and we have been separated on the airplane so I am not frightened that we weren’t made to have a coronavirus check earlier than flying. I’m relocating to Potters Bar, England as my ex-wife is because of give start on the finish of January so I needed to transfer right here, I am holding my job promoting instruments.

‘I heard we have been presupposed to have exams however no person has enforced it,’ the youthful man added.

The PM confirmed final night time that the transfer is coming, days after claims began to flow into that it was deliberate to forestall the alarming South African variant creeping into the nation.

However it’s understood it might nonetheless be a ‘couple of days’ earlier than the system – more likely to imply folks should check damaging inside 72 hours of travelling – is able to be unveiled, with the implementation date unclear.

Authorities sources instructed MailOnline they’re nonetheless ‘firming up’ the main points of the coverage. 

Mr Johnson got here underneath fireplace within the Commons right now over when the requirement can be introduced in, and the way a lot discover folks will get. 

Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer mentioned there have been ‘actual issues’ about importing mutant strains from locations like South Africa and Denmark. ‘Why are these measures not launched already? They’ve been briefed to the media for days however nothing has occurred,’ he mentioned. 

Shadow house secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds urged the federal government to cease ‘dragging its heels’ and ‘get a grip’. 

‘We’re leaving a considerable hole within the nation’s defences towards this horrible virus,’ he mentioned. ‘They need to act now with out additional unacceptable delay.’ 

SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford urged Mr Johnson to shut the UK’s borders to all-but important journey.

He instructed the Commons: ‘No person would say that this Prime Minister is one step forward of tomorrow or acts and exhibits management in coping with this well being pandemic.

‘The PM was gradual to behave within the spring of 2020, gradual within the autumn and right here once more, reacts after the occasions to the threats that all of us face.’  

Nadhim Zahawi engaged in brutal clashes with Piers Morgan today over the government's Covid border controls

Nadhim Zahawi engaged in brutal clashes with Piers Morgan right now over the federal government’s Covid border controls

Nonetheless, Mr Johnson gave no particulars and solely supplied a bland assertion, saying: ‘I believe it’s critical we defend our borders and defend this nation from the readmission of the virus from abroad and that’s the reason we took robust motion in respect of South Africa when the brand new variant grew to become obvious there and we’ll proceed to take no matter motion is critical to guard this nation from the readmission of the virus.’     

Mr Johnson mentioned final night time that the Authorities can be bringing in measures to make sure folks arriving within the UK have been examined. 

However the imposition of a 3rd nationwide lockdown has prompted rising requires instant motion and questions over why a requirement for a damaging check earlier than arrival within the UK has not already been launched. 

A spokesman for the PM mentioned this afternoon: ‘We’re working at tempo to develop applicable measures.’

The spokesman mentioned measures had already been launched to attempt to cease instances being imported – such because the quarantine requirement.

However ‘the worldwide and home scenario that we’re seeing has modified, with rising ranges of coronavirus, so it will be important that we take the motion we have to be certain that we attempt to cut back the danger even additional,’ they added.

The precept of pre-departure testing ‘will present for an additional layer of safety towards the virus’, the spokesman mentioned.

It got here as new figures from Labour confirmed that simply three in each 100 folks arriving within the UK are being checked to see if they’re complying with quarantine necessities.

Mr Thomas-Symonds has written to Priti Patel to demand ‘an pressing evaluate and enchancment plan of quarantine preparations’.  

Sir Keir took purpose on the PM within the Commons right now as politicians returned to vote on the brand new lockdown guidelines.

‘The Prime Minister is aware of there may be actual concern concerning the fast transmission of this illness. There are new strains being detected in South Africa, Denmark and elsewhere. The quarantine system is not working,’ Sir Keir mentioned.

‘The Prime Minister mentioned yesterday that we’ll be bringing in further measures on the border. I’ve to ask, why are these measures not launched already? They’ve been briefed to the media for days however nothing has occurred.’

Mr Thomas-Symonds mentioned Labour evaluation of Authorities knowledge instructed simply three per cent of arrivals anticipated to quarantine in England and Northern Eire have been efficiently contacted by compliance checkers in the summertime.

He mentioned the Authorities’s Isolation Assurance Service, tasked with guaranteeing quarantine compliance, didn’t contact greater than 1.9 million of the 2 million passengers spot checked by Border Drive between June and September. 

In a letter to the House Secretary, Mr Thomas-Symonds mentioned the numbers have been ‘deeply regarding’ and show that ‘efforts to trace, hint and isolate instances coming into the UK have been utterly undermined’. 

He mentioned: ‘The dearth of a strong quarantine system on account of shortcomings from the Authorities imply that it’s just about unimaginable to maintain a grip on this unfold or different variants that will come from abroad, leaving the UK defenceless, and utterly uncovered, with the nation’s doorways unlocked to additional COVID mutations. 

The Labour frontbencher mentioned there should be ‘an pressing evaluate and enchancment plan of quarantine preparations’ rolled out as quickly as attainable.

The requires motion come amid rising issues over a variant of the illness found in South Africa.

The House Workplace defended its ‘stringent measures’, and pointed to its transfer to cease direct flights from South Africa to the UK. 

A Authorities spokesman mentioned: ‘The figures on this letter are inaccurate. Border Drive have carried out greater than three million spot checks and PHE (Public Well being England) have been contacting an additional 1,500 folks every day.

‘We’re decided to cut back the unfold of coronavirus. Our stringent measures, reminiscent of obligatory Passenger Locator Types and spot checks each on the border and through quarantine durations, have seen a excessive degree of compliance.’ 

Mr Johnson instructed a Downing Road press convention final night time that the Authorities can be ‘bringing in measures to make sure that we check folks coming into this nation and forestall the virus from being readmitted’. 

Ministers are understood to be contemplating introducing a requirement for worldwide arrivals to have a damaging coronavirus check earlier than travelling to Britain to be able to deal with surging instances. Hauliers could be exempt.

At present arrivals into England from nations that aren’t exempted underneath the journey hall programme should isolate for 10 days.

However underneath the check and launch scheme launched in December, this may be shortened if they’ve a personal check 5 days after their departure and it comes again damaging.

In the course of the first lockdown, the Authorities argued towards introducing border restrictions whereas the prevalence was so excessive within the UK, with consultants arguing it could do little to carry down an infection charges.

Nonetheless, a quarantine interval was launched in June after the primary peak and when instances have been extra underneath management.

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