Travel news latest: Heathrow passengers told to ‘lie’ about quarantine to avoid immigration queues
Double-jabbed travellers arriving from amber list destinations should ‘lie’ about their intention to self-isolate, in order to avoid lengthy border control queues, an immigration source has advised.
Yesterday evening, Heathrow T5 E-gates appeared unable to process the new rules for fully vaccinated travellers, forcing them into 2.5-hour immigration queues.
Among them was Telegraph Travel correspondent John Arlidge, who was advised by an immigration officer that travellers should ‘lie’ on their PLF, stating that they will self-isolate, even though the legal requirement to do so has now ended.
‘There is currently no button on the UK’s Passenger Locator Form (PFL) to declare that you are exempt from self-isolation because you are fully double vaccinated and coming from an amber country,’ writes Arlidge.
‘If you tell the truth on the locator form and say you are exempt and tick the ‘Government / Assembly Approved’ reason – which is the only option that makes any sense – you cannot use the E-gates.
‘So, it looks like the government needs to update the locator form – and explain why it hasn’t done so despite announcing the rule change for arrivals from amber countries 10 days ago.’
Fears Spain could be added to ‘amber plus’ list as beta variant rates outstrip France
Concerns are growing that Spain could be added to the “amber plus” list after new figures revealed that its beta variant rates are nearly three times higher than those of France.
The data, compiled by the respected Gisaid research centre, showed 9.3 per cent of the Covid cases in Spain in the past month were the beta variant, which originated in South Africa and is regarded as the biggest threat to the efficacy of the vaccines.
That compared with 3.7 per cent over the same period in mainland France, which on Friday became the first amber list country to be barred from the Government’s opening of quarantine-free travel for double-jabbed Britons.
Scientists and travel experts said it raised questions over why France had been singled out as other figures suggested Spain’s rate of 21 per cent was five times higher than France’s 4.2 per cent and nearly twice Greece’s 13.4 per cent.
‘The greatest barrier to travel this summer? Nobody wants us’
So says Rory Boland, travel editor of consumer group Which?, in the wake of the US strengthening its advisory against travel to the UK:
The government can tinker with traffic lights all it likes, but what we’ve seen in the last week is that our ‘experiment’ with high infection rates has caused countries to ban entry from & warn against travel to the UK
EasyJet ramps up summer capacity to 60% of pre-pandemic levels
EasyJet plans to fly 60 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity in the July-September period, up from 17 per cent in the previous quarter, as Covid restrictions ease and travel appetite builds across Europe.
The group said this morning it was confident about the demand for summer and autumn travel, adding that it was gearing its schedule towards European routes, given that Europe had opened up faster than Britain.
EasyJet’s boss has been one of the most vocal critics of Britain’s approach to travel over the last two months, slamming last-minute changes which have resulted in booking surges and mass cancellations.
For now, the airline said it had scheduled 60 per cent of its flights for intra-European Union routes, whereas normally its business is split evenly between Britain and the EU.
But the company said it expected bookings from the UK to improve in the coming period as quarantine is scrapped for fully vaccinated arrivals from some European countries.
The State Department has elevated the UK to “do not travel” status amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in Britain.
Following the updated advice from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, Britain has been placed at the highest warning level, meaning Americans should not visit except in an emergency.
The UK recorded more than 48,000 new cases on Monday, and there is concern in Washington that the virus could spread even among the vaccinated.