The director of a Channel port has called on the government to introduce Covid testing to help revive the cruise and ferry industries.
Portsmouth International Port director Mike Sellers said:
“We are calling on the government to introduce fast track testing at ports and airports to avoid the uncertainty in travel conditions."
His plea comes ahead of a ministerial meeting on Monday during which the issue of testing to replace quarantine will be discussed.
“We’re interested in exploring whether fast track testing would be beneficial and also the outcome of antibody testing; both will hopefully help understand who is infectious, which is the main solution to controlling the spread of the virus.”
Seller said the port’s cruise traffic had been particularly affected.
“Cruise has ground to a halt, with crew repatriation the priority. We hope cruise travel can return soon, but it is difficult to say with confidence when that’s going be.
"It’s incredibly hard for the industry at the moment to plan, when the situation is changing reactively.”
He added: “Our ferry customers are suffering significantly too. Trying to run sailings with reduced capacity, coupled with quarantine restrictions, understandably means having to re evaluate how they operate.
"If passengers aren’t travelling then the options are limited.”