Published on : Saturday, January 16, 2021
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced that the U.K. will close all travel corridors starting from Monday, January 16, to curb the risk of spreading as yet unidentified new stains of the COVID-19 virus. At present, travellers are allowed to enter the U.K .without quarantine if arriving from a number of safe destinations. However, all arrivals are now expected to isolate for ten days upon entering the country. From January 18, all visitors will also be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before travelling to the U.K. with the test required to be undertaken within three days of departure.
The government has taken up these measures to help protect against new strains of COVID-19 circulating internationally and to identify those who may currently be infectious. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this evening, Prime Minister Johnson said it is important to take the extra measures now when, day-by-day, the country is making such strides in protecting the population. Responding to the announcement, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive, Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said in a statement that travel corridors were a lifeline for the industry last summer and the government were right to bring them in when they did.
However, he also mentioned that there is no doubt this it is a serious health emergency and ministers need to act to keep borders safe and the public protected. He provided his support to the latest measure, on the assumption that the association will work with government when the time is right to remove the restrictions when it is safe to do so and start to open up the sector again, to support the economic recovery. Joss Croft, Chief Executive, UKinbound added that consumer safety is paramount and although the removal of all travel corridors is regrettable, given the current trajectory of the virus it is an understandable decision.
He mentioned that with the borders effectively closed, the government needs to provide urgent, tailored support for the inbound tourism industry as it simply cannot afford to continue excluding it from support channels, given its propensity to aid the economic recovery when travel is possible again. He mentioned that it is also imperative that government signals that these new measures are only temporary, in order to save the summer season, and share that it consults with industry to put in place a clear roadmap to reopen the sector, when it is safe to do so.