Brits can be stranded overseas as ministers say travelers will be banned from entering the UK within days if they don't have proof that they are coronavirus free.
Passengers will be banned from entering the UK next week if they do not have a negative test within 72 hours of departure.
However, there are concerns in the travel industry that some will get stuck on vacation as many destinations – such as Barbados – have no testing facilities.
Return flights are expected to get mixed up with around 100,000 Britons currently in hotspots like Dubai and the Maldives.
Ministers agreed on the tough measures last night in the face of mounting pressure to tighten borders.
They apply to British and foreign nationals to keep out infections and mutant strains like the one in South Africa. The curbs could come next week.
Travelers are banned from entering the UK next week if they do not have a negative test within 72 hours of departure. Pictured: Heathrow
There are concerns in the travel industry, some will get stuck on vacation because many destinations – like Barbados – don't have testing facilities. Pictured: a man being tested at Heathrow
Return flights are expected to get mixed up with around 100,000 Britons currently in hotspots like Dubai and the Maldives. Pictured: Heathrow last month
Any traveler entering UK ports or airports should have a negative test prior to flight in order to enter. Failure to do so will result in a £ 500 fine on site.
Airlines and other airlines should prevent people from traveling without them, but border guards do spot checks on arrival.
It was unclear last night whether PCR testing would be required under all circumstances or whether rapid lateral flow tests, which are considered less accurate, could also be accepted.
However, the travel industry feared that some Britons could be stranded as countries like Barbados lack the resources.
A vacationer to the Caribbean island told the Times there was no chance they would be tested tomorrow before their flight to the UK.
The ministers agreed on the strict measures yesterday evening under increasing pressure to tighten the borders (file picture).
The new rules mean that travelers must be quarantined for ten days – even if they test negative – if they arrive from a country on the Red List with high Covid-19 rates. In the picture passengers arriving on a flight from London to New York
The new rules mean that travelers must be quarantined for ten days – even if they test negative – if they arrive from a country on the Red List with high Covid-19 rates.
However, you can leave isolation if a second test, which can be done from day five, is negative.
All travelers must complete a 'Passenger Search Form' and face a £ 500 fine for failing to comply.
Children under the age of 11 are exempt, as are freight forwarders.
Freight forwarders crossing the canal to France are still required to perform a negative test on Thursday before departure, following a decision by the French government.
Some people will also dodge the new rules if they come from "countries without the infrastructure available to run the tests".
Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this week that the requirement that arrivals test negative will be introduced amid concerns about the spread of new variants around the world. In the picture border control at Heathrow Airport
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said, “As new strains of the virus emerge internationally, we must take additional precautions.
"Coupled with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure testing provides another line of defense."
The UK aviation industry recognized the need to take action to introduce pre-departure testing, but only as a short-term emergency measure.
Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said: "Once the vaccine rollout is accelerated, the focus must be on getting the trip back to normal as soon as possible in order to support the UK's economic recovery."
However, travel advisor Paul Charles raised concerns about how realistic it is to have a testing policy before arriving.
Zahawi says Covid tests at airports are "pointless" in clashes with Piers Morgan on ITV
Nadhim Zahawi had brutal clashes with Piers Morgan yesterday over government border controls in Covid.
The vaccines minister was beaten up on ITV's Good Morning Britain for insisting that it was "pointless" to test people at UK airports.
In a vicious rebuke, Morgan said, “We inexplicably have anyone with a brain… during this pandemic, we have resolutely refused to test people when they arrive at our border, nor have we requested that anyone have a test that is negative when they come here.
"Do you know how many people we tested at our border?"
Mr. Zahawi said, "The answer is that you don't do a border test because it's pointless."
Morgan added, “So the answer is zero … we don't test people, none of our boundaries when they come in.
Second, we never asked anyone to take a test and a negative test before getting on a plane to our country, unlike almost any other country in the world.
Mr. Zahawi said, "If you ask the scientists – Chris Whitty and Jonathan Van-Tam – this test is almost pointless at the limit, as this person may be symptom-free, possibly negative and positive two days later."
He pointed to reports that there is no chance of getting a test in Barbados as all resources are focused on test and trace.
He tweeted, "I wonder, is the government's plan for anyone departing overseas to take a test who ever goes to work?"
He also asked what will happen when the test results slowly come back and whether the infrastructure for the paperwork is in place.
The government worked with the decentralized administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to introduce similar measures.
The new regime would not apply to the common travel area, which includes England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
It comes after ministers extended the travel ban on arrivals from South Africa to neighboring countries to keep the new strain out.
It affects Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola as well as the Seychelles and Mauritius.
The ban will come into force at 4 a.m. tomorrow.
The Department of Transportation said the move was in response to data showing a sharp increase in cases of the new variant in the region.
Last night Israel was also removed from the "safe" list.
Lockdown restrictions, which went into effect on Wednesday, mean holidays are banned.
All passengers arriving from countries not on the government's travel corridor list will need to self-isolate for another ten days regardless of their Covid test result.
Scotland, which has delegated powers over transport policy, announced on Thursday that travelers from Israel and Jerusalem, Botswana, Mauritius and the Seychelles will be removed from its list of travel corridors and that passengers arriving from these countries will stay for 10 days have to isolate yourself.
Around 230 planes landed on the tarmac at the UK's six busiest airports on Wednesday. 26 came from the US, which is hit by the virus.
Thousands have arrived at Heathrow in the past few days. Full data is not yet available, but sources at the airport said it was tens of thousands.
In November, nearly 747,000 entered via London's hub airport.
Labor figures yesterday showed that only three out of 100 people arriving in the UK are screened to see if they meet quarantine requirements.
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer targeted the Prime Minister (both pictured above) in the House of Commons today as politicians returned to vote on the new lockdown rules.
Mr. Thomas-Symonds has written to Priti Patel to request "an urgent review and improvement plan for quarantine agreements".
Mr Thomas-Symonds said analysis of government data found that only three percent of arrivals expected to be quarantined in England and Northern Ireland were successfully contacted by compliance auditors during the summer.
He said the government's Isolation Assurance Service, charged with compliance with quarantine regulations, did not contact more than 1.9 million of the two million passengers that Border Force screened on-site between June and September.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Mr. Thomas-Symonds said the numbers were "deeply worrying" and showed that "Efforts to trace, track and isolate cases to the UK have been completely undermined. "
He said: "The lack of a robust quarantine system due to government deficiencies means that it is virtually impossible to control this spread or other overseas variants, leaving the UK defenseless and completely exposed to the nation." Doors open to more COVID mutations.
The Labor Frontbencher said there had to be an "urgent review and improvement plan for quarantine agreements" as soon as possible.
The calls to action come amid growing concerns about a variant of the disease discovered in South Africa.
The Home Office has defended its "tough measures", warning that direct flights from South Africa to the UK will be suspended.
At the first lockdown, the government opposed the introduction of border restrictions while the prevalence in the UK was so high, and experts argued that doing little would do little to reduce infection rates.
However, a quarantine period was introduced in June after the first peak and when the cases were better under control.
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