ALL travel restrictions could end ‘very soon’ says Health Secretary

Heathrow
By Linsey McNeill
10/12/2021
Home » ALL travel restrictions could end ‘very soon’ says Health Secretary

All travel restrictions could end ‘very soon’, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs yesterday. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Javid said traveller testing and self-isolation will no longer be needed once Omicron becomes the dominant strain of COVID in the UK.

He said: “Very soon, in the days and weeks that lie ahead if, as I think is likely, we see many more infections and this variant becomes the dominant variant, there will be less need to have any kind of travel restrictions at all.”

His remarks followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suggestion during a Downing Street briefing on Wednesday that the travel red list and hotel quarantine should be reviewed following the rampant spread of Omicron beyond the 11 African nations on the UK no-go list.

Meanwhile, Heathrow is urging the Government to reduce restrictions ‘as soon as it is safe to do so’ and to allow Brits arriving home from red list countries to self-isolate at home rather than pay thousands of pounds for hotel quarantine.

The airport, which says its traffic is still 60% down on 2019, said ditching hotel quarantine for Brits will enable them to visit family for Christmas.

Heathrow said the reintroduction of travel restrictions means it’s now expecting a ‘slow’ start to 2022, with traffic next year expected to be only half of its pre-pandemic levels.

“We do not expect that international travel will recover to 2019 levels until at least all travel restrictions (including testing) are removed from all markets that we serve, at both ends of the route, and there is no risk of new restrictions, such as quarantine, being imposed,” it said. “This is likely to be several years away.”

The airport’s CEO John Holland-Kaye added: “By allowing Brits to isolate at home, Ministers can make sure they are reunited with their loved ones this Christmas.  It would send a strong signal that restrictions on travel will be removed as soon as safely possible to give passengers the confidence to book for 2022, opening up thousands of new jobs for local people at Heathrow.  Let’s reunite families for Christmas.”

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