Transport secretary Grant Shapps will announce a new quarantine regime for travellers returning to the UK “very soon”, and hopes it will be in place before Christmas.
The government’s Global Travel Taskforce is expected to report imminently on ways to reduce the current 14-day period of quarantine that travellers face if they return from a country without a travel corridor with the UK.
“We do want to reduce these periods of time through a test-to-release scheme. I will be saying more on the travel part of that very soon,” Shapps told BBC Breakfast.
“I will be able to describe a system that would help to reduce the amount of time people have to spend on quarantine as we look to get things going, as we look to get this mass testing going, as we get the vaccine going as well.”
In another interview on radio station LBC, Shapps was asked about whether the reduced quarantine system would be in place by Christmas and replied: "I do hope that is the case."
Reports from national media outlets suggest that the taskforce will recommend reducing the quarantine to seven days, with travellers having to quarantine for five days on their return to the UK.
They will then take a Covid-19 test and will be released from self-isolation two days later if that test is negative. Travellers will have to pay for the tests themselves to avoid putting further pressure on the NHS.
Private tests currently cost around £100 per person but there are hopes that this price will soon be reduced significantly.
The taskforce is also set to recommend that cruising can restart in early 2021 with domestic itineraries initially getting the green light from late January, as long as operators can show they have stringent testing and infection control measures in place.
Despite the current lockdown in England, the government is continuing to make changes to its travel corridors list with a series of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, being granted this status on Thursday (12 November).