Holiday Covid tests must be scrapped after no variants were detected in international arrivals last month
ZERO. Nought. Nada. Not a single one.
That’s the variety of Covid-19 variants reported last month for international arrivals as hundreds of thousands of us have shelled out a billion kilos for personal PCR and lateral movement tests.
As the Government ponders eradicating the necessity to take the ruinously costly checks in the subsequent evaluate of the visitors gentle system, we are able to reveal the surprising waste of money and time the system is, based mostly on the Government’s personal Test and Trace information.
As our unique graphic reveals, in the three weeks as much as September 1 — peak summer season holidays — not a single Covid variant of excessive precedence or very excessive precedence was discovered in the greater than 1.19 million individuals who took the tests in England.
The testing information contains each Variants Of Concern (VOC) — the 4 fundamental strains first detected in Kent, South Africa, Brazil and India — and newer sorts, often called Variants Under Investigation (VUI).
From the very begin of international journey resuming in May, the Government has claimed the tests offered an early warning system for extra harmful, lethal mutations of the coronavirus.
But this surprising desk — based mostly on information by analysis guide Suzanne Lugthart — exhibits the utter futility of the expensive and complex system of journey testing.
Not a single variant of excessive concern was found.
And not solely that, the info reveals we were really safer taking journeys overseas than staying right here at house.
Of the tests taken by travellers getting into England from 228 international locations throughout the purple, amber and inexperienced lists simply 0.97 per cent were optimistic in comparison with 4.27 per cent in the UK.
And whereas it could have been achieved in the identify of defending the general public, the injury to our journey business will imply all of us paying the value as we emerge from the pandemic.
The sophisticated system noticed demand fall off a cliff as holidaymakers selected to remain in Blighty.
Summer vacation bookings were down 83 per cent on 2019’s determine, in response to ABTA, the journey affiliation.
As furlough involves an finish, the true scale of the devastation to our journey business will be revealed. More than 27,000 individuals are at the moment on the federal government scheme in the journey agent and tour operator sector alone.
Seven out of ten vacation firms plan to make redundancies as soon as it winds up.
The Government’s failed system for the restart of international journey has had a devastating affect.
Heathrow — as soon as Europe’s busiest airport and a world powerhouse — languishes in tenth place behind virtually each different European hub as rivals Schiphol in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris all get better at a far faster tempo.
We were the one nation in Western Europe to insist that travellers arriving in the nation wanted to take not only a lateral movement check earlier than departure but additionally a dear PCR check on or earlier than day two.
The impact was catastrophic.
Of the highest 20 European international locations for international arrivals, we’re in twentieth place at simply 14 per cent of pre-pandemic visitors.
By comparability, Greece comes in first, racking up 85 per cent of its 2019 arrivals.
If we don’t take a look at opening up borders quickly, it may spell bother for all in the long term
With a catastrophic drop in passenger numbers, airways are struggling and the approaching months may see some fail whereas others merge.
With fewer airways, much less competitors means flight costs will inevitably rise, as Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary warned this weekend.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of the Advantage Travel Partnership, which commissioned Lugthart’s analysis, stated: “The Government tells us PCR testing is a public well being measure.
“But this information, and that of earlier months, makes it clear that the importation of variants is completely disproportionate to the measures in place with zero variants discovered, even from purple record international locations.
“Even then, the data is not available until some weeks after the traveller has arrived back and mixed with the general population. It’s meaningless and too late.”
Meanwhile, journey affiliation ABTA has repeated its requires a complete overhaul of the system.
CEO Mark Tanzer stated: “The Government’s journey necessities have choked this summer season’s journey commerce — placing jobs, companies and the UK’s connectivity in danger.
While our European neighbours have been travelling freely and safely, the British were topic to costly measures which have stood in the way in which of individuals visiting household and mates, taking much-needed international holidays and making vital enterprise connections.
“The Government must get up to the injury its insurance policies are doing to the UK journey business and the affect they are going to have on the broader financial restoration.
“There is no logical explanation as to why people who are fully vaccinated should be taking expensive PCR tests — or any test at all — when returning from lower-risk countries. This widespread use of PCR tests needs to stop.”
The ball is in the Government’s court docket.
It is clear widespread PCR testing has been an entire waste of the British travelling public’s money and time.
We have to drop the day two PCR instantly for vaccinated travellers.
A easy lateral movement check earlier than you get on the aircraft is greater than sufficient — and even that goes past what most different international locations require.
And a easy — a lot shorter — purple record of nations with precise recognized variants of concern would be enough.
Everywhere else ought to be inexperienced — giving hard-working British vacationers an opportunity to journey as soon as extra and enhance international arrivals who’re of such financial significance to UK companies.
It’s time to finish this journey insanity and get Britain shifting once more.