A “test and release” system to reduce isolation after arriving into the UK could be in place by December, transport secretary Grant Shapps has hinted.
Shapps said ministers had agreed a regime comprising “a single test, provided by the private sector and at the cost to the passenger after a period of self-isolation”.
Addressing the Airlines 2050 conference on Monday (19 October) he said “a lot of aspects” surrounding the government’s testing policy had already decided prior to the creation of the Global Travel Taskforce and the group would now go about implementing its strategy.
“I’ve heard a lot of people saying ‘why has it taken so long?’. The answer is simply this – we weren’t sitting on our backsides doing nothing. What we were actually doing was defining a lot of the [scientific] detail,” Shapps stressed.
“We have already worked incredibly fast in the 10 days since [the taskforce] was been set up. We’re talking to vast parts of the testing industry.”
He explained that Public Health England “will set the quality standard for the test” with the private testing industry then tasked with creating the test.
Asked if the system could be put in place by 1 December, Shapps said: “I’m hopeful this will happen very quickly. It will now depend on the [testing] industry’s ability to provide it. I don’t want to overpromise about something that’s not in my hands directly.