Desperate travel sector demands all international Covid testing requirements are scrapped immediately
All testing requirements for international travellers should be abolished immediately, the travel industry said this morning.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and Airlines UK said research they commissioned into travel restrictions found domestic, not international, restrictions would be the only way to reduce the spread of Omicron.
Pre-departure and day two PCR testing were reintroduced in late November and early December in response to the spread of Omicron.
From early December, MAG said passenger numbers at its airports fell by more than 30%.
The travel restrictions are expected to be reviewed on Wednesday.
MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish and Airlines UK boss Tim Alderslade released a joint statement on Tuesday saying the requirements could be removed “without impacting overall case rates and hospitalisations in the UK”.
“The Health Secretary rightly acknowledged as early as 8 December that the value of any form of restrictions was significantly reduced once Omicron became dominant in the UK,” they wrote.
“This latest research by Oxera and Edge Health clearly supports the position that travel testing requirements can be removed in full without impacting overall case rates and hospitalisations in the UK.
“It should give the UK Government confidence to press ahead with the immediate removal of these emergency restrictions, giving people back the freedom to travel internationally to see loved ones, explore new places and generate new business opportunities.”
Mr Cornish and Mr Alderslade said the restrictions “come at a huge cost to the travel industry” and the broader UK economy.