Heathrow Airport will open a dedicated terminal for arrivals from red list countries in a bid to minimise mixing between passengers from different destinations.
The UK’s largest airport said it would introduce segregated arrivals for people travelling from high-risk red countries in Terminal 3 from 1 June. They will then travel to a hotel to quarantine for 10 days.
It follows criticism of the airport and the government that arrivals from all destinations were made to queue together at immigration controls.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps yesterday said he wanted to see people separated “as much as is practically possible”.
Passenger numbers are expected to increase in the coming weeks after holidays were allowed to resume from 17 May.
Under the traffic-light system, arrivals from red list countries must quarantine in a hotel on return. Travellers from green list countries do not face any quarantine measures.
The vast majority of countries are on the amber list, however, which requires a period of quarantine at home.
Heathrow has called for an expansion of the green list following the next government review, which is expected by 7 June.
“While opening this facility will be very challenging logistically, our hope is that it will enable Border Force to carry out its duties more efficiently as passenger volumes increase in line with the green list,” the airport said in a statement.
Heathrow said the red list arrival terminal would eventually be moved to Terminal 4, adding that the arrangement was likely to be in place for the foreseeable future.
Earlier today Spain said it would lift restrictions on travellers arriving from the UK from next week.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government still advised against travel to amber list countries unless necessary.