UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday announced the creation of a Global Travel Taskforce that will aim to implement a testing regime to reduce the current 14-day quarantine period of arriving travelers, which is in place as part of preventive measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country.
“Following agreement from medical experts, we are moving ahead with the next step to reduce the travel quarantine period by launching the Global Travel Taskforce to open up international travel & boost our businesses,” Shapps said on Twitter.
According to the transport secretary, the new taskforce will implement a testing regime to reduce the self-isolation period, along with a wide range of other measures to enable travel whilst keeping coronavirus rates down.
The taskforce will be chaired by Shapps and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Helen Whately. It will include collaboration between officials from departments across government, and will liaise with the travel sector in order to work on the operationalisation of testing approaches designed to safely reduce self-isolation.
Travel taskforce to explore Covid-19 testing options
In a statement to parliament, Shapps said that the overall aim of the taskforce will be to consider what steps the government can take, both domestically and on the international stage, to enable the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel. To do this, the taskforce will work at pace to consider:
– how a testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK.
– what steps can be taken to facilitate business and tourist travel on a bilateral and global basis, through innovative testing models and other non-testing means.
– more broadly, what steps can be taken to increase consumer confidence and reduce the barriers to a safe and sustainable recovery of international travel.
“Each country has understandably implemented its own measures, but these are confusing and complex for the consumer and for operators, so we will show global leadership by developing a framework for international travel to provide that global consistency, while protecting public health,” Shapps said.
He added that the Global Travel Taskforce will operate at pace for a time limited period, and will formally report back to the Prime Minister no later than early November.