Tuesday 28 July 2020 9:02 pm

Government mulling two-test system to cut quarantine time

People entering the UK from red-listed countries may be allowed to leave quarantine early if they test negative twice for coronavirus in a limited number of days.

The BBC reported that the government was close to giving the go-ahead to a trial programme of double testing in order to ease pressure on the travel sector.

Read more: Airlines push for regional approach after ‘foolish’ Spain quarantine

At the moment, all those entering the UK from countries where there is a high risk of coronavirus infection must quarantine for 14 days.

There is a list of 70 or so countries from which travellers can currently come to UK which are exempt from the measures.

According to sources in the travel industry, the big question at the moment is on the number of days between tests.

Members of the sector are keen on five days between the tests, while the government is reportedly pressing for an eight day gap.

The number of days between tests is crucial in reducing the chance of false negative results, which could be possible if someone who had recently contracted the virus was not showing symptoms.

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According to the BBC, there are two options for the format of the testing, which would see passengers tested either twice before travelling or once upon arrival and then again several days later.

The first option would see the need for quarantine to be scrapped altogether, if the person tested negatively twice.

For the second method, the traveller would have to quarantine between the two tests.

Collinson and Swissport are reportedly the two firms pushing the scheme, which is expected to focus on one or two routes to begin with.

Collinson chief executive David Evans said of the potential roll-out: “I would hope that the government would move and flex on their policy – I think they’ve got to have an armoury of tools at their disposal to do this.

“As soon as they do that, we should get this rolled out in the next couple of weeks.”

Read more: UK considers regional quarantine rules for overseas countries

France is due to implement a similar two-test regime for those arriving from 16 countries including the US.

City A.M. has contacted the Department for Transport for comment.