Travel traffic light system criticised by aviation analyst
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Fully vaccinated Britons arriving from amber countries don’t need to quarantine from July 19. However, airport procedures haven’t been updated yet and passengers are being advised to lie at border control in order to avoid long queues.
Heathrow airport is seeing an average of two and a half hour queues due to the lack of staff.
From July 19, double-jabbed Britons don’t have to quarantine on their return when arriving from an amber list country.
However, E-gates at Heathrow have not been updated with the new rules and vaccinated travellers have to go through manual checks at immigration.
At the moment, passengers who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine have to show proof of a negative PCR test, a Passenger Locator Form which includes the address where they will be self-isolating and two PCR tests to take during quarantine.
Double-vaccinated travellers should be able to go through the E-gates using the NHS app, which shows they have received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
A passenger at Heathrow claimed in comments made to The Telegraph that officers at the Border Force – which is a division controlled by the Home Office – are advising vaccinated travellers to “lie” on their passenger locator form saying they will quarantine for 10 days although that is no longer required.
“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.
“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,” he explained.
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He continued: “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.”
Heathrow told Express.co.uk: “We welcome the move to allow fully vaccinated Brits to travel to amber list destinations without the need to quarantine on return.
“We understand the Government has now rectified some confusion regarding the use of E-Gates and exemption status by amending the language used on the Passenger Locator Form to provide further clarity, improving the experience at the border.”
This comes after more than 100 Heathrow staff had to isolate earlier this week after being advised to do so by the NHS Test and Trace app.
That caused a major disruption at the airport with passengers having to queue for hours at Terminal 5 due to the lack of border Force officers.
Many passengers complained about their experience on social media.
“Total chaos at security @HeathrowAirport @British_Airways T5 this morning. Never seen anything like it #T5 #Heathrow,” a traveller said.
She continued: “In Terminal 5, both security queues were backed up, with little being done to move people forward who had the closest upcoming flights.
“Luckily, one lady came through handing out water, but I’m not sure that went on very long.
“Once you finally got through to the security screening, there were maybe only two to four of the belts functioning, which made the whole process even more drawn out,” she explained.
Another one said: “Never seen Heathrow so busy!!!! Tried to stay at home or at least deploy maximum social distancing all week ahead of flying to the US today – seems slightly redundant when this is what greets you at the airport!!”
Heathrow airport apologised for all the inconvenience passengers are experiencing this week after travel rules have been finally eased.
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