Stansted calls for details on easing of coronavirus restrictions

Testing centre sign at Stansted Airport

A testing centre at Stansted Airport - Credit: Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport has urged the government to detail how coronavirus restrictions will be eased this summer and how much support it will provide financially to airports.

Manchester Airports Group was reacting to the Government’s announcement on changes to in-bound pre-departure testing procedures.

From this week all international arrivals by boat, plane or train, including UK nationals, are required to have a negative Covid-19 test result up to 72 hours before their journey departs. They also have to provide a passenger locator form.

The aim is to protect against new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa, identify people who may currently be infectious and prevent them from travelling to England.

Passengers will be required to show their negative test result before boarding, and transport operators will deny boarding if necessary.

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On arrival back into the UK, Border Force will check the test results of passengers and can issue immediate fines of £500 for breaches.

People arriving in the UK from countries not listed as a “travel corridor” will still be required to quarantine for up to 10 days, and can use the “Test to Release” scheme which will reduce their quarantine to five days, on receiving an additional negative test result.

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A Stansted Airport spokesman said: “It is clear that, as a country, we must take all necessary action to prevent the spread of the virus.

“That is why we will do all we can to support the introduction of these additional, stricter measures at a time when new strains have emerged and infection rates are rising.

“At the same time, we need clarity on how aviation will be allowed to resume alongside the rest of the economy, once public health conditions improve.

“Despite being one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, airports have stayed open and suffered huge losses to support essential air travel such as emergency services, repatriation flights and critical freight operations.

“The Government must set out its plan now for how restrictions will be eased in time for summer, as well as details of the financial support it will provide to airports, which have a central role to play in the U.K’s economic recovery from this pandemic.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions.

"Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence - helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks."

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