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Government taskforce to consider coronavirus testing for travellers to cut self-isolation time

A Government taskforce will consider how coronavirus testing could reduce the amount of time people need to quarantine for when returning to the UK from overseas.

Travellers arriving into the UK from many countries – including Spain, France and Portugal – currently need to self-isolate for two weeks. The full list of countries varies depending on whether you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

While the Government has already said it doesn't support testing people on arrival to the UK as a way to avoid self-isolation completely, it is looking at using a combination of testing and self-isolation to reduce the quarantine time. 

Travellers arriving in the UK would need to pay for their own private test, which would be taken after a period of self-isolation.

And Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has now announced that a global travel taskforce will work on how this plan could be implemented.

The taskforce is due to report back to the Prime Minister by "early November", so an immediate policy change isn't expected.

Our Top holiday destinations from the UK guide has full info on where you can travel and where quarantine requirements apply, and our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide has help on travel disruption during the pandemic.

What will the taskforce do?

The Transport Secretary says the aim of the taskforce is to consider what can be done to boost the "safe and sustainable recovery" of international travel, looking at:

  • How a testing regime could be put in place for international arrivals. The taskforce will consider what day arrivals should take their test, as well as working out a final plan to deliver the scheme.

  • How to boost travel on a global basis, both through "innovative testing models" and methods that don't involve testing.

  • How to increase consumer confidence to help the recovery of international travel.

The taskforce will also work with the transport industry, tourism, local businesses and the private testing sector, as well as engaging with other governments.

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