Updated on Friday, 17 September 2021 – 14:03
When it comes to traveling to the United Kingdom, it no longer matters so much where you come from but how many doses of the coronavirus vaccine you have received. Boris johnson is preparing to announce this afternoon a revolution in its traffic light system to regulate international travel, so that as of October the green and amber categories – in which Spain is located – will disappear, and travel will be facilitated. Ace, PCR tests that travelers must carry out before their arrival in the country and within a few days of the same they will disappear provided the full regimen is in place, although antigen testing may still be required.
Despite the fact that the exact conditions of the new government plan are being debated at this time within the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, there is some consensus about the need to make travel cheaper and easier for those who have received the two doses. “It is about making it easier for people to see all those friends and family living abroad again while ensuring that it is done in a safe framework,” the government explained to The Telegraph newspaper. .
However, there is also agreement about the opposite, that is, to complicate things for those who refuse to be vaccinated, since everything indicates that, as of October, all those who do not have the complete guideline will have to quarantine 10 days regardless of where they come from and perform the same three PCR tests that are required in the toughest moment of the pandemic.
For its part, Those who have the two doses will not have to do the confinement and will only have to present an antigen test upon arrival in the country and carry out another one 48 hours after landing.. However, it is being discussed whether the latter should be antigen, which is cheaper, or PCR, which is more expensive, but at the same time safer, since it enables exhaustive analysis of the samples to search for possible new variants of the virus.
“In this matter, the details are up to the devil, I hope they take seriously that, if an antigen test is positive, a PCR has to be done to corroborate the result and to analyze the genome of that case. It is vital that we continue to maintain an exhaustive surveillance in this matter “, has assured Alan McNally, Professor in Microbial Evolutionary Genomics and one of those responsible for the implementation of the search for new variants.
However, the Government does not lose sight of the fact that these tests are stifling mobility, since, on average, each PCR test is around 100 euros, while those of antigens are at 35. The bubble that is being created in the sector is also enormous, as there are more and more competitors fighting for a market that in the last three weeks has moved more than 40 million euros. Of the more than half a million tests that have been performed, only 5% have given a positive result.
For its part, the traffic light system to divide safe destinations into three different categories is going to disappear. Instead, the Government will publish a list with safe destinations and another with those that are not, but the latter will be very reduced and it is expected that it will not be made up of countries such as Turkey, which I know was in the red category. based on the previous system. Those arriving from countries marked as unsafe should continue to quarantine 10 days in a hotel designated by the Government at a price that exceeds 2,000 euros per person.
Heathrow loses hegemony
With these measures, Johnson also hopes to catch up with the European Union, which was winning the game when it came to relaxing border restrictions to attract international tourism. Heathrow airport in London, which until 2019 was the busiest in Europe and where Ferrovial has a 25% stake, has fallen to the tenth position, being surpassed by those of Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt.
From the airport itself, they pointed to the “excessive and unnecessary” coronavirus tests that those arriving in the United Kingdom should take as one of the reasons for their decline, although they also pointed out that their rivals on the continent were “recovering at a much higher rate” without having to face the “constantly changing restrictions” of the British Government. Although in August 2.2 million passengers passed through Heathrow, 700,000 more than in July, the figure is 71% lower than that registered in August 2019, at a time when neither Brexit nor the pandemic had affected mobility.
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