UK considers tougher testing for international travellers as virus variants spread

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People wait for the arrivals at Heathrow Airport, as tighter rules for international travellers start, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London, Britain, January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Britain is looking at greater testing of all people who have arrived from abroad while they are self-isolating to defend against new variants of the virus that causes Covid-19, a minister said on Tuesday.

Airlines have been brought to their knees by the pandemic, with travel restrictions forcing once fast-growing brands like Norwegian to fight for survival while established names like British Airways have raised cash and laid off thousands of staff.

ITV reported that all international arrivals would have to be tested for COVID-19 on the second and eighth days of their self-isolation.

“We are constantly looking at refining our approach to the border simply because there is a risk from new variants coming from other countries around the world,” Environment Secretary George Eustice told Times Radio.

“Until we have fully rolled out the vaccine and identified a way to be able to update the vaccine to meet new challenges we do have to exercise some caution about international travel,” he said.


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