International holidays may be on the cards this winter, according to Grant Shapps.
Lockdown 2.0 has prohibited international travel, so those of us hoping to flee the country this winter have had to go back to the drawing board. However, it looks like we may get our Christmas wish after all. Earlier today, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, suggested that Brits may be able to book a holiday or two once a new Covid-19 testing regime comes into place.
The global travel taskforce and health experts are currently working on a new testing programme that will help reduce the travel quarantine from a fortnight to just few days. Shapps is due to announce the full details of the new regime “shortly”, but the idea is that faster, cheaper and more accessible Covid-19 tests will help monitor the virus, encourage people to book trips and give the tourism industry the kickstart that it desperately needs.
To bring you up to speed, in a speech last week to the Airport Operators Association, Shapps said “I want you to know that we’ve been making very good progress on a test to release programme, to launch once we’re out of this lockdown. This will consist of a single test for arrivals into the UK provided by the private sector at a cost to the passenger, allowing us a much-reduced period of self-isolation. Beyond the lockdown, this should encourage more people to be able to book flights with confidence.”
And in an interview today he said “It’s true that we think now with the capacity on testing, and in particular the ability of the private sector to provide tests for people who have travelled, on the basis that people would pay for them, would open up the way to help to get air travel going again once we are out of this lockdown.”
He continued “If we can shorten the quarantine, or self-isolation, in return for a test after a number of days, then absolutely that is what we want to do.” And when asked if people would be able to take foreign holidays this Christmas, he said “Yes, of course, I do hope that is the case”.
Before you get your hopes up and start planning holidays, Shapps did highlight that all travel plans are dependent on the infection rates in the UK which fluctuate daily. But if we’ve learnt anything over these past few months, it’s that anything is possible in 2020.