DfT could mandate testing for UK arrivals

Ministers are considering new measures to prevent new cases of COVID-19 being imported into the UK, including pre-departure testing for people arriving here.

Although a variant of the virus first discovered in the UK is thought to be behind an explosion of cases in Britain, ministers have expressed concern about another variant found in South Africa.

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The Department for Transport (DfT) said new measures to provide the UK with an additional layer of protection from imported cases will be announced, but did not give a timetable.

A spokesperson said: ‘This country already has some of the strongest safeguards against importing COVID-19 in the shape of mandatory 10-day quarantine for the vast majority of arrivals, and Test to Release.

‘Additional measures, including testing before departure, will help keep the importation of new cases to an absolute minimum, while national lockdown and vaccination take effect.’

In a media interview on Tuesday morning, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the Government would be ‘making announcements later today and in the days ahead about how we will make sure that our ports and airports are safe’.

He added: ‘It is already the case that there are significant restrictions on people coming into this country and of course we’re stressing that nobody should be travelling abroad.’

The DfT announced earlier this week that it had established testing sites around the country for HGV drivers wanting to travel to the continent, following a demand from the French Government that travellers from the UK have a negative COVID test carried out within 72 hours before departure.

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