London, Jan 18 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom on Monday began imposing new regulations to contain the spread of the pandemic, amid new, more contagious variants of coronavirus.
The new measures include requiring travelers arriving in England to present a negative Covid-19 test and forcing them to quarantine for 10 days after their arrival, although that period can be shortened to five days if a second, private test returns negative.
Since Monday morning, “all travel corridors for people arriving in England are suspended,” the government said in a statement.
Now, all international travelers arriving in the country must have tested negative for Covid-19, within 72 hours before the trip, and undergo a 10-day quarantine, or five days for those who agree to pay for a private test.
Established during the summer of 2020, the travel insurance brokers provided a lifeline to the aviation industry, which has been badly damaged by the pandemic.
Karen Dee, CEO of the Airport Operators Association, told BBC Radio 4 on Monday that she supports closing the travel corridors but urged the government of prime minister Boris Johnson to establish “a clear pathway out” of this situation.
“We’ve had the worst year in the entire history of our industry so the sooner we can get flying again safer, the better,” she said.
The CEO of British budget airline EasyJet, Johan Lundgren, also speaking to BBC Radio 4, said that the closure of the corridors would not have “a significant impact” on his company in the short term as the number of flights has already been severely limited by the pandemic.
The government is also considering plans to tighten entry requirements to the UK, such as forcing arrivals to self-isolate in an officially-designated hotel, as is the case in countries such as China, New Zealand and Thailand.
Officials are also considering the introduction of a surveillance system similar to Poland’s, in which quarantined persons are contacted once a day to send a photograph of themselves at the place where they have chosen to self-isolate.
Facial recognition software and the GPS coordinates of where the image was taken allow the authorities to check that people are indeed complying with quarantine rules. EFE-EPA