Former Prime Minister Theresa May has thrown her weight behind calls, led by The Telegraph, for airport coronavirus testing.
Endorsing the central tenet of The Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign, Mrs May said testing travellers on arrival and then again a few days later was the key to getting planes flying again and helping to revive the economy.
She said her “simple” message to Boris Johnson, the business department, the Treasury and the health department was: “If you want to get planes flying again, give our airports permission to trial tests. Stop the UK dragging its feet – let’s lead the world and set the standard to restore world travel and world trade.”
Her appeal came as ministers reimposed quarantine on Portugal just three weeks after lifting it, forcing holidaymakers who fail to return by 4am on Saturday to self-isolate. The Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores remain exempt in the first use of the new “island corridor” strategy.
Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion are also added to the quarantine list, but Sweden, which has refused to lock down throughout the pandemic, has been added to the “safe” travel list after seeing its seven-day case rate tumble to 10.8 per 100,000.
Amid growing backbench concern over the UK’s on-off quarantining of countries (see graphic below, showing where measures might next be imposed), Mrs May told MPs: “I’m certain that testing has to be the way forward in the foreseeable future, but at the moment airports aren’t even permitted to trial tests on passengers. I think this is an incredibly important point – far from leading the world, the UK is lagging behind.”