To resume safe international travel, the UK government has launched a global travel taskforce.
This announcement has come after the hospitality sector expressed their concerns with respect to slow action in providing assistance.
The main goal is to assess the practicalities of testing international arrivals
A statement explained that the transport department and the health and social care department have been working with health experts, the private testing sector, and clinicians.
The next crucial step is to develop an operationalised approach. The task force will work with the industry on how to implement and identify options that reduce the self-isolation period. These options have to protect public health as well. The task force will work aggressively to develop proposals for a future testing plan. This will also include looking at the cost of proposals based on a single test taken after a period of self-isolation.
Grant Shapps, Secretary, Transport, said, “The current measures at the borders have saved lives. Our understanding of the science now means we can intensify efforts to develop options for a testing regime. We can help reinvigorate our travel sector. This new taskforce will help us move towards safer, smoother international travel as we continue to battle this virus. It will also support global connectivity – helping facilitate more COVID-19 secure travel whilst protecting the population from imported cases.”
Alternative testing models, including pilots with partner countries, will also be explored
The task force will work with medical experts to understand when a test should be taken based on how the disease is progressing. It will coordinate with the private testing sector to ensure that testing for international arrivals does not affect the NHS capacity.
Matt Hancock, Secretary, Health and Social Care, said, “It is vital we do everything we can to control the spread of the virus. Our measures at the borders are designed to help keep the country safe, by preventing imported cases of COVID-19. We know how these measures have a significant impact on people’s lives and on the travel and tourism industries. Hence, we are working hard across governments to explore ways to open up international travel in a safe way.”
By next month, the task force will present a report with their initial recommendations.