Mirror Online: LONDON, England – Anyone travelling to the UK will have to take three coronavirus tests, Matt Hancock is expected to announce tomorrow.
The Health Secretary is tipped to confirm an “enhanced” testing regime for all arrivals in the fight against new variants of Covid-19.
Currently, anyone coming to the UK must have tested negative for coronavirus 72 hours or less before their arrival, and then self-isolate for 10 days.
Under the change – first reported on Saturday – it’s expected people would then also have to take two tests on Day 2 and Day 8 of their 10-day quarantine period.
Sources suggested Mr Hancock will make the formal announcement on Tuesday, with ITV News reporting it would come into force from February 15 – the same date as hotel quarantine for some Brits.
The Health Secretary is due to give a general Covid-19 update to MPs in the House of Commons at lunchtime on Tuesday.
The Department of Health and Social Care previously confirmed the testing regime would be enhanced “to cover all arrivals while they isolate” but gave no further details.
It is not yet known how the policy will impact the “test to release” scheme.
That had allowed arrivals from lower-risk countries to pay for a test five days into their quarantine – and leave early if it came back negative.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic, the government has put in place proportionate measures, informed by the advice of scientists, that has led to some of the toughest border regimes in the world.
“It is important the government continues to take the necessary steps to protect people and save lives.
“Enhancing our testing regime to cover all arrivals while they isolate will provide a further level of protection and enable us to better track any new cases which might be brought into the country, and give us even more opportunities to detect new variants.
“Further details of our mandatory quarantine and enhanced testing regime will be set out soon.”
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds tweeted: “Yet again the UK Government is lurching from one crisis to another, with no consistent strategy to secure our borders against #Covid variants.
“21,000 people are entering the country every day – we need a comprehensive hotel quarantine system urgently.”
Commons Home Affairs Committee chair Yvette Cooper added: “Glad they are finally introducing more testing after arrival as other countries have been doing since last spring.
“But why are they not testing at the airport BEFORE people travel home on public transport?”
It comes as ministers race to introduce mandatory quarantine in hotels for Brits returning from 33 ‘red list’ nations from February 15.
On Monday it emerged the government had not yet signed a single travel quarantine contract with hotel firms to run the scheme.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told journalists: “The Department of Health issued a commercial specification to hotels near ports and airports.
“No formal contracts have been awarded yet.”
No10 said further details of the hotel quarantine policy would be announced later this week.
- Top Feature Photo: – Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror