Testing could be delayed until November ‘at the earliest’, say reports

Hopes that Covid testing could immediately reduce the quarantine period for returning travellers could be dashed amid reports it will not happen until November at the earliest.

According to reports, a widely expected announcement on Thursday will only extend to the creation of a taskforce to explore the options rather than the introduction of testing itself.

It has been hoped that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps would unveil a detailed testing plan that would kick off immediately.

The Guardian reported that the taskforce, to be chaired by Shapps and Health Secretary Matt Hancock is not due to report back until mid-November, leaving the industry to wait at least another month for a potential reduction in the 14-day quarantine period.

A Department for Transport spokesperson told the publication there was no delay over plans.

“As we’ve been clear, work is ongoing with clinicians and health experts on the practicalities of using testing to reduce the self-isolation period for international arrivals,” the DoT said.

It is understood the Government is moving away from airport testing and favouring a test after eight days, with those with a negative result able to come out of quarantine.

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