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Much of the travel industry breathed a sigh of relief when the government announced plans to slash the current quarantine period for holidaymakers for 14 to five days, with an optional test taken on day five. Though the new “test to release” scheme has its perks, it is not without some concerns.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy, The PC Agency, pointed out the huge cost it could have for some holidaymakers.
“This measure is not going to be for everyone,” he told Sky News.
“There are some people who will find it easy to quarantine for five days on their return but many people can’t and they also might not be able to afford it.
“Especially if they are a family of four it could cost hundreds of pound for them to get a private test after five days.”
Despite this, the Government says that private testing is essential in order to boost travel without putting further strain on the NHS.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “We have a plan in place to ensure that our route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster international travel while keeping the public safe.
“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business.
“By giving people the choice to test on day five, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic.”
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Mr Charles was not the only travel industry expert to identify some flaws in the test and trace plan.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has also been critical of the plan, saying “it is not very well thought out”.
“I think the problem with this system in the UK is that you only have to isolate for five days,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“And we know that people simply don’t isolate.”
However, following four weeks of a ban on travel, the new rule may be welcome to many holidaymakers who have plans to jet off over the festive season.
Airlines are already gearing up to boost capacity in anticipation of what many believe will be a busy time.
Though Ryanair had cut capacity to just 40 percent of its usual schedule in October, the airline has revealed an extra 24 flights will be operating from France, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Spain, Belgium and the UK.
Additional flights from the UK include London Stansted to Athens, London Stansted to Bucharest, London Stansted to Budapest, London Stansted to Malaga, London Stansted to Seville, Manchester to Fuerteventura, and Manchester to Lanzarote.
Similarly, easyJet is set to resume its “planned flying schedule in early December”.
Of course, quarantine restrictions vary depending on the destination of travel.
Each nation has set out its own entry requirements, which include providing information to tracing systems, providing a negative coronavirus test on arrival or, in some countries, enduring a long quarantine period.
The UK also continues to update its travel corridors on a weekly basis, based on the “risk level” presented by specific nations.
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