Boris Johnson looks likely to propose a reduction of the isolation period over fears that the current 14-day rule is ‘strangling’ the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
IT is understood that the PM is considering a plan where people could be tested for Covid-19 eight days after they arrive in Britain – although government insiders have stressed that no decision has been made yet.
However, Foreign secretary Dominic Raab DID confirm that a testing policy for newcomers is under review. Boris Johnson is said to have told Conservative MPs that he hopes for an “infectiousness test.”
Such a test, if sanctioned, would reveal patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 but not pass it on to others. An attendee of the Tory 1922 Committee said that politicians were led to believe speedy testing is coming. This could allow the government to ditch blanket quarantine measures for arrivals into the UK and focus on reopening industries.
Ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “The insistence on the current quarantine measures is doing huge harm to the British economy – quite unnecessarily so.” Former Brexit secretary David Davis said that quarantine measures risked the strangulation of the economy.
Heathrow airport is making preparations just in case the government announces a change.
Heathrow Airport in the UK has trialled three rapid points of care Covid-19 tests which may prevent the implementation of blanket quarantine rules and facilitate the recovery of the aviation sector. The trials were conducted on airport staff and currently, the findings are being evaluated. If successful, Heathrow will be Britain’s first airport testing hub with the capacity to swab over 13,000 people a day.
One of the tests, where Heathrow worked with I-Abra to trial their Virolens testing device, claims to provide the results in as little as 30 seconds. A machine learning holographic microscope, the device is designed to identify if a person is carrying the disease. The aviation sector awaits the decision by the government and a statement by the PM is expected sometime this week.