Quarantine ‘to be slashed to 8 days’ over warnings two weeks is ‘strangling’ UK

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Quarantine rules for passengers arriving in the UK could be slashed to just eight days after warnings the two-week rule is "strangling" the economy.

Officials are reportedly looking into the possibility of testing people for coronavirus eight days after they arrive in the UK.

But government sources have stressed that no decision has yet been taken.

Businesses and MPs warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the huge damage they say is being done to the travel sector by the fortnight-long quarantine.

Mr Johnson is said to have told Conservative MPs of his hopes for an "infectiousness test" earlier this week, which would reveal patients who had tested positive for the virus but not pass it on to others.

Officials told the Mail on Sunday the quarantine period is likely to be slashed.

On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show a testing policy for incoming travellers was "under review".

But he insisted testing it was "no silver bullet", adding that the move would help "ease up" on quarantine but wouldn't eliminate the need for it completely.

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Last week, Johnson is reported to have told Tory MPs about his planned "infectiousness test", with one attendee at the meeting saying: "We were led to believe fast testing is coming down the line."

Faster and more efficient testing could help the government ditch restrictions such as blanket quarantine measures and look at ways of reopening other industries.

It comes as a cross-party group of MPs and famous political figures urged the PM yesterday to rethink the government's quarantine policy.

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was one of the signatories in the letter in the Mail on Sunday, wrote: "The insistence on the current quarantine measures is doing huge harm to the British economy – quite unnecessarily so."

While Conservative former Brexit secretary David Davis said the quarantine measures "risked self-strangulation of our economy".

Labour's former Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis also urged Downing Street to look into better testing options at airports to combat "massive, blanket disruption".

Heathrow has also set up the UK's first airport testing facility with the capacity to swab 13,000 people a day.

But it will stay closed due to Downing Street's refusal to use the tests as proof travellers won't need to quarantine.

The travel industry has been one of the worst-hit sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Rolls-Royce, which makes aircraft engines, set to axe 3,000 jobs.

Popular tour operator Tui has also warned of 8,000 redundancies while Virgin Atlantic announced plans to cut 1,150 staff on Friday.

  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown
  • Boris Johnson

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