Travel corridors closed in UK

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People arrive at Heathrow Airport, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Travel corridors allowing people to enter the UK without self-isolating have closed.

Arrivals must now take a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours before departure, and self-isolate for up to 10 days.

The corridors were a lifeline for the travel industry when they were introduced in summer 2020, as struggling firms saw a spike in bookings for destinations added to the list.

But they were suspended from 4am on Monday as the government attempts to prevent new strains of Covid-19 from entering the UK.

Karen Dee, chief executive of trade body the Airport Operators Association, supported the decision but stressed the need for “a clear pathway out”.

We’ve had the worst year in the entire history of our industry

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve had the worst year in the entire history of our industry so the sooner we can get flying again safer, the better.”

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EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said the loss of travel corridors will not have a “significant impact” on his airline in the short term as flight numbers were already limited due to the pandemic.

He told Today that the minimum number of days arrivals must wait to take a negative test releasing them from quarantine could be reduced from five days to three days.

Lost exemptions

“We know that there’s a big difference between people’s willingness to sacrifice to go and travel if you have to quarantine for 10 days or 14 days, down to five days or even three days,” he said.

“So it’s really, really important that, as part of the plan for recovery, the government also has the plan to unwind these restrictions that are in place.”

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The Department for Transport announced on Monday that high-value business travellers, performing arts professionals and journalists have lost their exemption from travel restrictions.

Other people who must now abide by the rules include those working in “high-end” television production and film, ornamental horticulture, advertising and the National Lottery.

Aircraft crew, hauliers, offshore oil and gas workers and people involved in elite sport are among those whose exemptions remain.

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