- The new travel rules for Tiers 1, 2 and 3
- Latest local lockdown rules for Wales
- What if Covid-19 spoils my holiday? Key questions answered
- The countries you can (feasibly) visit right now
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Heathrow Airport will today commence pre-departure Covid-19 testing for passengers travelling to Hong Kong and Italy.
The rapid-result tests will be carried out at the airport’s purpose-built testing facility in Terminal 2, and later in Terminal 5. They will cost £80, and provide results in approximately one hour.
The service will initially offer LAMP testing, but will expand to offer antigen testing in the coming weeks, The Telegraph understands. Unlike PCR tests – which are used by the NHS – LAMP and antigen tests can be processed without being sent to a laboratory.
Announcing the launch, aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport described the pre-departure testing regime as the "crucial next step toward keeping the travel industry moving while limiting the spread of the virus".
The service will initially be open for four weeks; tests can be booked online, prior to airport arrival.
Scroll down for more of today’s other travel news.
That’s a wrap
Before we sign off for the evening, here’s a quick recap of today’s top stories:
- Second lockdown is 'final nail in the coffin' for Wales tourism
- Part of Germany goes back into full lockdown
- Most Britons would rather pay for test than face quarantine
- Toucan Travel Ltd ceases trading
- Cathay Pacific slashes 6,000 jobs
- Quarantine-free Cuba confirms reopening of whole island
See you bright and early tomorrow for more travel news.
'I'm almost starting to think this whole pandemic really is a conspiracy'
"I’ve been suspicious from the start," writes Annabel Fenwick Elliott. "Back in March, when this novel virus first swept in from the East and countries across Europe started bolting their doors even before cases mounted, I remember saying to people, ‘Blimey, what aren’t they telling us yet?’"
It was clearly killing people, but not in numbers that warranted the complete shutdown of society, I mused, as I cleared my desk and left the office for what would be – little did I know it then – seven months and counting.
Covid-19 was obviously proving to be a lot more virulent than swine flu, but even early on it was clear that the virus was sparing the vast majority of the population. Those I knew who caught it either suffered symptoms similar to a mild cold, or none at all. Bemused, as the Government set about building Nightingale hospitals that would hardly be used and Britain’s vibrant cities turned into ghost towns, I kept thinking to myself, ‘when are they going to tell us what’s really going on?’
Quarantine-free Cuba confirms reopening of whole island – excluding Havana – to tourists
Minty mojitos, indigo seas, sparkling waterfalls, aromatic cigars, and bubblegum pink classic cars... the Caribbean island of Cuba has opened its beaches, B&Bs, hotels, nature reserves and city sights to international tourists this week after six months of lockdown.
Cuba’s international airports are open for independent travel and package tours but Havana, its international airport, and two central provinces remain off-limits to visitors.
Varadero, the island’s main beach resort three hours’ east of capital Havana, opened its all-inclusive hotels to visitors last week. It had been assigned a special travel corridor. That no longer applies. Off-resort travel is now green-lighted.
Sir Rocco Forte: the Government must urgently rethink quarantine
“We need to learn to live with this disease, it’s going to be with us for a long time," says leading hotelier Sir Rocco Forte.
The founder of the Rocco Forte Hotels, who was a guest panelist at a press conference hosted by the Italian National Tourist Board this afternoon, has been lobbying the Government to rethink its approach to travel quarantines.
“Those of us that are involved in tourism, whether as spectators or participants, should be encouraging Governments to try to organise things,” he urged.
British travellers heading to Italy currently have to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test, either up to 72 hours before arrival, on arrival at Italy’s major airports, or within 48 hours of arrival at their destination – during which time they must quarantine. The Rocco Forte Group is offering pre-departure testing to its guests heading to Italy for a discounted price of £129, via a courier service and partnership with UK-based company Blue Horizon, as well as testing at its hotels.
However today, Heathrow airport has begun testing passengers bound for Italy. Asked whether the LAMP test is being accepted by the Italian government, Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta said there is “no definite decision,” meaning people still have to test again on arrival for the time being.
Sir Rocco also spoke of a “huge jump in British business” at the group’s Italian hotels this summer. “Some of these people have experienced Italy for the first time, many have booked again for next year.”
“People were able to enjoy their holiday in a completely satisfactory way, the only difference was staff were wearing masks.”
'We need international governments to work together on comprehensive testing programmes'
"The news that a pre-departure testing trial is being rolled out in Heathrow airport today is welcome indeed," writes Ali Shah, CEO of travel agent TravelUp. "But while today’s trial marks a positive step, it’s bitterly disappointing that the UK has been so slow to systematically implement such a policy."
Airport testing is already being used successfully in 30 countries – including France, Germany and China to positive effect. These testing facilities could bring an end to the frustrating 14-day quarantine policy currently interrupting international travel. The two-stage testing scheme at Heathrow could test 13,000 passengers a day, with results delivered in only a few hours.
It has the potential to breathe life back into the UK travel industry and restore consumer confidence. Yet the UK continues to stall on its rollout. At this stage, it is difficult to make an argument that any of the UK’s 220,000 travel jobs are safe in anything longer than the medium-term unless schemes like this are implemented across the board.
The UK Government must do more to urgently consider the beneficial practicalities of such a scheme in comparison to quarantine, which cannot continue indefinitely. Yet to be effective we need governments across the globe to work together to create comprehensive testing programmes that transcend borders. Only by doing so will we see a revival of travel and tourism internationally.
If our leaders don’t act soon, many more companies that rely on travel will be doomed to fail, and we will likely see tens of thousands more jobs lost in the UK alone.
The ultimate getaway...
A different type of test
Simon Parker is cycling the length of Britain, from Shetland to the Isles of Scilly, to take a 'temperature check' of the UK for Telegraph Travel.
He's just arrived in Fort William, Scotland, and is enjoying a well-earned tipple.
You can see updates on his Twitter feed, and follow his story with via his articles over the coming weeks.
Manchester to enter Tier 3 after talks collapse
Greater Manchester is to be placed into Tier 3 restrictions unilaterally, after the Government called off talks with local leaders without reaching a compromise.
Discussions went on after the midday deadline, and Boris Johnson himself intervened with two phone calls between him and Mayor Andy Burnham, before they were called off this afternoon.
It is understood that all pubs and bars will be shut for 28 days, unless they are serving substantial meals. Betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres, and soft play areas will also be forced to close.
Matt Hancock to give Commons statement at 7pm
Boris Johnson is giving a press conference at 5pm today – but if that weren't enough, Matt Hancock is going to give a statement to the House at 7pm.
This was not on the order paper this morning, which suggests it could be significant – although it could be a case of the Health Secretary setting out the Tier 3 restrictions for Greater Manchester.
Which country could be added to the UK's quarantine list next?
What will this Thursday's 'travel corridors' update bring? Let's take a look at the latest figures from around the world...
Previously, the Government started getting twitchy when a country's seven-day case rate exceeded 20 per 100,000. However, the UK's own case rate has now flown past that threshold (as of October 20, it stands at 178.5), so it is exercising more leniency. Sweden and Germany, for example, remain on the green list despite recently passing 40 cases per 100,000.
Of most concern to UK holidaymakers this week will be Germany, Sweden and Cyprus. All three are welcoming Britons (although Cyprus demands evidence of a negative Covid test, while Germany requires arrivals from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Northern England and the Midlands, to take a test on arrival), but have seen their seven-day case rates rise to 49, 46.6 and 53.6, respectively.
IATA: 'The government must act quickly and decisively'
"We welcome the start of passenger testing at Heathrow and urge the government to follow-through quickly," says Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.
According to a recent study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 86 per cent of Britons say they are willing to be tested to facilitate travel. Responding to the Transport Secretary's comments yesterday that testing on arrival could be introduced by December 1, Schvartzman told Telegraph Travel:
"With thousands of jobs at risk with each day that the travel remains shut, the government must act quickly and decisively. And to be successful the government must recognise that:
- Quarantine of any length will continue the economic destruction of Covid-19. IATA’s survey of British travellers revealed that 80 per cent will not fly if it involves quarantine. Testing must replace, not shorten, quarantine.
- The cost of testing should be borne by the government. Imposing the £80 cost of COVID-19 testing on passengers will be a huge disincentive to travel. IATA’s traveller research confirms support for the WHO’s International Health Regulations which require testing costs to be born by the government.
- The risk of catching COVID-19 while in-flight is very low, and testing will make it even safer. Recent research by IATA identified only 44 confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 transmission which is the equivalent of 1 case for every 27 million travellers. And research from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer has shown that cabin air flow in conjunction with wearing of masks is the equivalent of social distancing nearly 6 feet apart."
Italy's Campania region to impose nightly curfew as Covid-19 cases surge
Italy's southern Campania region plans to introduce a nighttime curfew from the coming weekend in an effort to tackle a surge in Covid-19 cases, the regional chief Vincenzo De Luca has said.
The move follows a similar decision on Monday by the northern region of Lombardy.
"We are set to ask for a stop to all activities and people's movements from 11 p.m.," De Luca told reporters in Naples.
The central government will have to approve the request, but it is not expected to refuse. Unlike when the epidemic first struck in March, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is looking to give towns and regions more leeway to decide their own curbs as new cases flare around the country.
I live in a Tier 2 area – can I still go on holiday?
You probably can. There are no real restrictions around travel, with the Government only advising that “you should and aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.” One caveat to this is the rule on mixing households:
“You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.”
This will naturally rule out plenty of group holidays, since the rule applies for all those living in a Tier 2 area, even if they are travelling to a Tier 1 area.
Still confused about what the rules are for holidays for each tier?
Boris Johnson to hold press conference on Covid restrictions in Manchester at 5pm
Boris Johnson is to hold a press conference when he is expected to set out the Government's next steps in relation to coronavirus controls in Greater Manchester, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said talks had continued on Tuesday morning at official level ahead of the Government's midday deadline for an agreement on the introduction of Tier 3 controls in the region.
Mr Johnson has also spoken directly to Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham following the passing of the deadline.
"The talks have been ongoing this morning. I am not in a position to confirm how that has been resolved," the spokesman said.
The press conference will take place at 5pm on Tuesday.
Scotland could face new tiered system from November, says Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland will face a new tiered system of lockdown restrictions will come into force from November 2 if approved at Holyrood next week, the First Minister has said.
Nicola Sturgeon warned that some areas may face stricter measures than those currently in force in the central belt, where licensed hospitality venues have been temporarily closed.
The Cabinet will decide if these restrictions, brought in on October 9 to stem a rise in cases and due to end on October 26, will be extended until the implementation of the tiered framework.
'Malta is worth the two-week quarantine'
Travel writer James Litston finds Malta warm, empty and free from Covid hysteria – and hence, worth the two-week quarantine. He writes:
October in Britain is marked by misty mornings and falling leaves, but here in the Maltese archipelago it still feels very much like summer. The sun’s beating down on a blue-sky day, the temperature is in the mid-twenties and there’s a refreshing breeze blowing in off the sea. But most captivating of all right now is the water: all dazzling cobalt with patches of sapphire that lend this place its name, Blue Lagoon.
It’s no surprise that this lovely spot is a magnet for sun-seeking visitors. Boats come and go from Malta and Gozo, disgorging their passengers here on Comino until – ordinarily at least – the bay’s small beach becomes busier than a rush-hour station. But this is not an ordinary year. Sure, there are plenty of people but the boats are nowhere near capacity and the sea is not its usual soup of tourists. There’s even space to sit on the shore in a socially distanced manner. I imagine that there couldn’t be a better time to visit.
Cardiff hospitality and tourism businesses reeling
"This has been done to us, not with us." Cardiff restaurateur Phill Lewis is talking, as many across Wales’ hospitality industries have been since First Minister Mark Drakeford announced Monday morning that the country would enter a ‘firebreaker’ lockdown from Friday October 23, about what chance affected businesses now have to survive. And the outlook, as Phill sees it, is disastrous.
Ashley Govier, director of Cardiff’s grand 1888-built Coal Exchange, now a Renaissance-Revival hotel, restaurant and events space in Cardiff Bay, adds,
We need to stop seeing health and the economy as two separate things. They’re not. We are fighting here for the jobs of 40 staff and to see their worry and mental stress now on top of everything else, with their salaries cut, this has a direct link to health. I would just like the economic team to catch up. And the announcement has not brought certainty. If I knew that come November 9 the hotel could trade again, that would be fine, but we don’t know that.
Cathay Pacific slashes 6,000 jobs
Cathay Pacific will cut 6,000 jobs and close its budget Cathay Dragon brand as part of a strategic review to combat the deep damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hong Kong-based airline is expected to confirm the plan after the market closes on Wednesday, the South China Morning Post reported.
Cathay initially planned about 8,000 layoffs globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18pc of its workforce, including some 5,000 jobs in Hong Kong, the report said.
Your best options for a quarantine-free last-minute holiday
We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the uncertainties and maximise your chances of getting away – whether you’re determined to find sunshine or just want a good dose of culture on a city break.
Discover the most likely destinations to be a safe bet this half-term – as well as all the latest advice on when to book and how to get insurance.
'Covid tests and champagne': The first international cruise since lockdown leaves Britain
Ben and David Hewitt-McDonald were among 19 passengers who embarked SeaDream I in Portsmouth yesterday for a 17-day transatlantic voyage to Barbados. They told Telegraph Travel:
“Check-in was really smooth – a completely touch-free process with all staff wearing full PPE and clear social distancing. While our baggage was sprayed down and disinfected with a misting gun, our temperatures were taken as well as blood oxygen readings.
“We were then retested for Covid-19 with a rapid PCR test by the ship's doctor and about 15 minutes later we were cleared to board the ship. We were incredibly excited.
“After another quick temperature check, we were through security and boarding the ship. Approaching the gangway we were required to sanitise our hands and have our shoes disinfected. Once on board we were greeted by big smiles and a glass of champagne.”
How will Heathrow’s travel tests work, and where will they unlock?
Passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong and Italy now have the option of paying for a pre check-in rapid Covid-19 test.
Launched today, the private test costs £80 and returns results within an hour. The idea is to simplify travel to the increasing number of destinations that require UK arrivals to present evidence of a recent negative test result. The move marks the first time coronavirus airport testing has been available in the UK.
LIVE: Your travel questions answered by our expert
Telegraph Travel's consumer expert Nick Trend is on hand to answer your burning travel questions.
Where is it safe to travel to in the UK? How do you claim a refund for your half-term holiday? And are you allowed to spend time in an area that's in a different lockdown tier from your own? There's never been a more important time to stay informed – and Nick has the answers.
Toucan Travel ceases trading
Travel agency Toucan Travel Ltd has today ceased trading, says the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). The reasons for its closure have not yet been confirmed.
The company also operated under the following trading names:
Winchester Travel Service
Affected customers are advised to contact the operator and seek advice from ABTA.
'Our Covid-19 test is ready for travel businesses to engage with'
At yesterday’s Airlines 2050 conference, Grant Shapps outlined the Government’s plans to introduce a ‘test and release’ system for international travellers by December 1 – but warned that that the supply of tests would be dependent on private sector capacity.
“Public Health England will set a quality for the test itself, and then it will be down to the private sector to provide a test up to that quality,” said Shapps. “It will now depend on the industry’s ability to provide [tests]. I don’t want to overpromise for something that isn’t in my hands directly.”
But the Transport Secretary needn’t worry, says Andrew Wheeler, CEO of GeneMe UK CEO – the biotech firm behind FrankD, a 30 min Covid-19 testing system. He tells Telegraph Travel:
We are already working with numerous businesses including Virgin Atlantic, international airports and West End shows to provide fast, reliable and inobtrusive testing methods at scale in the form of FrankD.
The Transport Secretary confirmed that a testing regime could be in place by 1 December this year and we are ready to provide these with WHO Gold Standard Test of Covid-19 and CE approval.
Mr Shapps referenced that the tests would have to come from the private sector and our solution is ready for travel businesses to engage with. We look forward to further discussions at international governmental level on providing this in a more widespread capacity.
A FrankD test costs between £15 and £25 depending on volume, and one machine can process more than 4,000 tests a day – making it quick and efficient as a point-of-care solution. The Transport Secretary continually refers to the need to identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus: FrankD is highly accurate, achieving 100 per cent accuracy when detecting negative results and 97 per cent accuracy when detecting positive results.
A recent study by University College London found that 86 per cent of people tested were asymptomatic, making it even more vital that fast and reliable tests like FrankD are easily accessible to ensure businesses can keep open. In addition, our partnership with the Yoti app ensures that test results can only be linked to that specific individual as an entirely ‘spoof proof’ means to ensure security and accuracy.
69 per cent of travellers would rather pay for test than face quarantine
Two-thirds of British holidaymakers would prefer to pay for a Covid-19 test than face a two-week quarantine on their return, according to research by Skyscanner.net.
In a recent poll of 3,500 travellers, the flight comparison site found that paid-for tests were the favoured alternative to quarantine.
In a separate poll of 1,000 people, 78 per cent said that halving the UK’s quarantine time from 14 to 7 days would make them more likely to travel abroad.
Hugh Aitken, VP of Flights at Skyscanner commented:
We’ve seen over the past few months [that] when restrictions are changed, travellers are willing to adapt their travel behaviours in order to be able to continue to travel. A combination of reduced quarantine length and more airport testing measures could mean we see more travellers feeling confident to travel again.
As well as flexibility around destinations, we’re increasingly seeing travellers waiting until the last minute to book their flights and opting for flexible ticket options in order to be able to travel in the current climate with confidence.
'It's crackers': Life in the village divided into two tiers
For years, the only obvious difference between the cottages on either side of Roxby Beck was the colour of their wheelie bins.
Yet the fishing village of Staithes, in North Yorkshire, now finds itself truly divided.
On the north side of the river, around 40 houses have been stranded in "high" Tier 2 restrictions, meaning they cannot mix with friends and family indoors. On the other side, the bulk of the village remains in Tier 1, meaning people can freely meet their neighbours in pubs, cafes and restaurants as long as they abide by the "rule of six".
"According to the Government, I shouldn't even cross the bridge to go to the shops in my own village," complained one local. "It's crackers."
'I refuse to see this as a new norm – it's a temporary norm that we must see out'
The Welsh travel industry is “on its knees”, says Daniel Manley, founder of Wales-based travel company Big Blue Adventures.
“Yesterday’s announcement of a fire-break lockdown came as no surprise. Some industries will adapt and do better than others, as the case has been throughout. But we are already on our knees in travel, to what feels like the longest low season ever.
“It's a hard pill to swallow when we should be finishing the season on a high with half-term trips and autumn getaways. But, now we are counting the pennies and relying on Rishi to give us some good news. And let's face it, we can only assume a two week lockdown will lead to more.
“At Big Blue Adventures we specialise in tailor-made group adventure travel – so, we absolutely need to deliver things offline, in a face to face environment. There really isn't so much we can do with an online pivot.
“We are lucky to operate in Portugal as well as Wales. Madeira is providing a little business with sailing groups and a trickle of other nationals joining our team there for some warmer adventures, but it's not much to sing and dance about at all. I just hope our suppliers and partners there will survive 2020 and a hard winter.
“So, how do we survive? One way is we are asking the good people out there to help save tourism and events this winter by purchasing vouchers as a Christmas gift. The other is to simply keep the faith in the industry. I refuse to see this as a new norm – it's a temporary norm that we must see out for better times ahead.”
Second lockdown is 'the final nail in the coffin' for tourism in Wales
For many businesses already on the brink, Wales's new 'firebreak' restrictions are a bitter blow. And there is widespread concern that this might turn into a rolling lockdown, which would be financially devastating for the rural economy.
“We’re trying to be strong and keep the business afloat, but what will happen when we fall off the financial cliffs when furlough ends on 1 November?” asks Paula Ellis, group general manager of three luxury boutique hotels in Wales.
“I can understand the need for lockdown on one level, but it is important to recognise that those in the hospitality industry are masters at keeping people safe. As it stands we are wondering how we are going to be supported to limp along until spring 2021.”
Region of Germany goes back into full lockdown
An area in the Bavarian Alps will today become the first locality in Germany to go back into full lockdown in response to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Justin Huggler.
Residents of the Berchtesgadener Land, a mountainous area near the Austrian border, have been ordered to stay in their homes from 2pm today. Schools, nurseries, restaurants and non-essential shops have been ordered to close.
The lockdown was ordered after the weekly infection rate in the sparsely populated region surged to 272 per 100,000 inhabitants, far over the German limit of 50.
"There is no other way," Markus Söder, the regional chief minister of Bavaria said. "We can no longer trace all the contact chains. So we have to restrict contacts."
As with the first lockdown in the spring, the German restrictions are lighter than in many other countries. As well as being allowed to go to work or shop for essential items, people are allowed to leave their homes for exercise or fresh air, but must do so alone or with members of the same household.
Uruguay: it successfully 'dodged' Covid, and is preparing to welcome tourists again
Uruguay’s approach in dealing with Covid-19 has arguably been even more impressive than New Zealand’s. Sandwiched between Bolsonaro’s chaotic Brazil and Fernández’s hapless Argentina – now ranked fifth in the world for coronavirus cases (it has just broken the one-million barrier) – Uruguay’s newly installed government responded rapidly and resolutely in March, closing bars, shopping centres, churches, schools and borders, and testing and tracing vigorously.
As a result, the country has clocked up a grand total of 2,531 cases and 51 deaths. The Uruguayan population is approaching 3.5 million, not so different from Wales (which has 34 times more deaths related to Covid-19). Uruguay is roughly the size of England, however, meaning there’s plenty of space to keep to social distancing rules.
Only Uruguayan nationals and legal residents are allowed to enter at present, but pressure is mounting on the government to reopen the main resorts – the coast, estancias, Carmelo wine region, Unesco-listed Colonia and Montevideo – to tourists.
Wales lockdown a ‘severe blow’ for tourism
As Wales prepares for a two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown, travel and hospitality businesses across the country have warned of the economic toll.
“Another lockdown, even a short one such as this, is a severe blow to Welsh hospitality and tourism,” said David Chapman, UKHospitality’s executive director for Wales.
Rowland Rees-Evans, chairman of Mid Wales Tourism and owner of Penrhos holiday park in Ceredigion, told BBC Radio Four’s World at One: “I’ve got about £10,000 pounds worth of bookings in for next week, so [the lockdown will] obviously take those out.
“We live in one of the lowest of infected areas in the whole country. We’ve all worked hard in our communities to keep this virus at bay. And now other areas are having the spikes and we are probably going to be punished for that.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the two-week period is "the shortest we can make it, but that means it will have to be sharp and deep to have the impact we need it to have on the coronavirus."
Under the new rules, everyone in Wales will be told to stay at home, while pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops will be forced to shut. Gatherings indoors and outdoors with people not in a single household will also be banned.
I've given up 'living in the moment' – it's dull and depressing
Forget mindfulness, I'm back to plotting elaborate travel plans that will probably get cancelled, says Anna Hart.
For the past few weeks, I've experimented with “planless living”. I told myself to buck up and RELAX. I ordered myself to be a bit more Buddhist about everything, to let go of attachments and expectations, and felt furious with myself for constantly failing to do so.
Any time I caught myself daydreaming about visiting family in California, I’d yank myself back into reality and force myself to do something “in the now”, like washing the dishes or something. It didn’t work. In fact, it’s been really depressing. I know we’re always being told to “live in the moment”, but what if this particular moment is rubbish?
You could call this a failure to be mindful, you could accuse me of wishing my life away. But, holiday planning has always been my drug of choice, and I miss it.
'All we need now is Government buy-in'
Heathrow's testing facility is a different approach from the plans announced yesterday by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Speaking at aviation conference Airlines 2050, Shapps outlined plans for “a single test for international arrivals, a week after arrival”. He said he is ‘hopeful’ that testing for international travellers could be implemented by December 1, cutting quarantine from 14 days to approximately one week.
However, Heathrow is offering tests on departure – initially for travellers heading to Hong Kong and Italy. “We’ve created the new facility as we know from other countries that airport-based testing is the way forward,” said Richard Cawthra, Chief Commercial Officer of Swissport.
“This T2 facility can process a volume of 13,000 tests a day, which can scale further with demand. We know the logistics work needed and are ready to go with the tests. All we need now is Government buy-in that those with negative tests will be released early from quarantine.”
The original country house hotel has become Covid's latest victim
The closure late last month of Sharrow Bay Hotel truly marks the end of an era, writes Fiona Duncan.
There are very few hotels like Sharrow Bay left these days and one fears that it won’t be long before they too, like the dear old things that they are, slip quietly from view.
Sharrow Bay has always been described as the first ever country house hotel. And while the very British genre has hugely proliferated in the 72 years since it first opened, the style has changed and privately owned houses-turned-hotels offering nothing more than a comfortable bed, good food and a doze by the fire with a cup of tea and the daily papers have been eclipsed by group-owned dazzlers trumpeting experiences and activities, spas, cooking schools, classes, workspace hubs, bespoke cocktails, destination restaurants, buzz and glamour.
Heathrow testing: Capacity for 13,000 passengers per day
Collinson and Swissport have issued a joint statement on Heathrow's Covid-19 testing facility, which opens today:
The facility in Terminal 2 enables arriving passengers to be tested for COVID-19 upon landing and know just hours later if they have tested positive.
More than 13,000 passenger tests can be carried out each day using the existing facility, which can be further scaled with demand. It is hoped that with approval from the Government, people testing negative during the process will be allowed to exit quarantine early.
PCR Testing at the border has been extensively trialled internationally, in locations with very strong scientific oversight such as Germany, and found to be safe, and now rolled out in France, Iceland and Austria and at more than half the world’s busiest airports including Paris Charles de Gaulle, Tokyo Haneda and Dubai International.
Collinson, Swissport and Heathrow are committed to working with Government to find the optimum testing proposition that balances public health and economic recovery. The proposed pilot is set to focus on a two-test model, with the first test taken at the testing facility on arrival and then a second confirmatory test to follow a few days after the first.
With Government approval, travellers who test negative to both tests would then be released early from quarantine.
Before we start today’s live blog, let’s take a look at Monday’s headlines:
Airport testing to be rolled out by December 1
Wales announces half-term ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown
'Health passports' to be tested on London-New York flights this week
Hospitality workers to protest on Parliament's doorstep
Bangkok to welcome first tourists in over six months
Now, on with today’s news.