MP Liam Fox calls for testing at Bristol Airport to reduce quarantine times

PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 September 2020

Dave Lees, left, and Liam Fox MP, right, both back calls for Covid-19 testing at Bristol Airport. Picture taken pre-Covid.

Dave Lees, left, and Liam Fox MP, right, both back calls for Covid-19 testing at Bristol Airport. Picture taken pre-Covid.

Liam Fox MP

Liam Fox has backed calls for the introduction of Covid-19 testing at Bristol Airport for arriving passengers.

North Somerset’s MP believes the UK should monitor countries that have adopted the same approach in a bid to reduce quarantine times and rejuvenate the travel industry.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Dr Fox said: “The travel industry, and therefore the airports, have had one of the most difficult times of all sectors during the pandemic.

“Even when passengers have a legitimate interest in flying there is the added unpredictability of quarantine restrictions which affect both business and leisure passengers.”

Traffic levels have plummeted by 99 per cent at Bristol Airport during the lockdown period, with many popular tourist destinations placed on the Government’s quarantine list.


Fox added: “We need to look at the practice of other countries to see where the addition of testing either before travel or airport on arrival can reduce quarantine times.


“Not only does this reduce the inconvenience to individual travellers but it may encourage greater traffic and minimise the burden on an industry which, in Bristol airport’s case, has already lost hundreds of jobs.”


Other measures have been taken by the Government to help reduce quarantine times for UK travellers such as the island policy which enables individual islands to be added or removed from the quarantine-free list no matter their mainland country’s status.


However, the chief executives of 13 major UK airports, including Bristol, have warned more action is needed to ‘prevent catastrophic job losses’.


Bristol Airport chief executive, David Lees, said: “Whilst we welcome the Government’s recent decision on introducing the islands policy as a first initial step towards a fully regionalised quarantine policy based on assessed health risk factors and infection rates.


“It is disappointing that Government has not addressed the core issue of introducing a testing regime for arriving customers at airports. 


“As an industry, we need Government to urgently accelerate a testing regime for arriving customers into the UK which would safeguard public health, help to reduce the quarantine period, remove uncertainty and

allow businesses and passengers to make informed travel choices.”


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