UK's traffic light system 'hasn't worked' says Charles
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Planned changes will merge the amber and green list country categories, in a move to make travel easier for double-vaccinated people. However, a leading health expert has advised tourists to “remain vigilant” over fears of new variants.
Leading immunologist and founding scientist of Cignpost Express Test, Professor Denis Kinane, said of the traffic light system changes: “We believe that on one hand, this could be a positive step for anyone travelling abroad.
“On the other hand, it is also critical that we remain vigilant in preventing new variants from coming into the UK.”
Denis told Express.com: “During the spring, when the Delta variant entered the country, Cignpost saw a huge spike in positive results from those traveling into the UK from the Indian subcontinent.”
He said that was despite passengers having tested negative with a Lateral Flow test before boarding.
Denis welcomed the news that tourists may still be required to take a pre-departure test before arriving in the UK and a day two test after arrival.
However, he said the day two system was “confusing” and should be changed to help tourists get test results more quickly.
He said: “The fact that the test between zero and two days, when people come to the UK is called a Day two test is confusing – it actually leads to people delaying their PCR test until two days after their return to the UK.
“This means that they may not receive their results until up to six days after their return from abroad.”
The leading immunologist suggested the testing regime for travellers should be changed.
He argued: “The solution we would recommend is to change the confusingly named ‘Day two test’ to a ‘Day-of-Arrival’ test so that we can identify infections much faster – and so move more quickly if a new variant comes into the country.”
Denis said the “testing and border lapses” during the spring had allowed the Delta variant to “flourish” in the UK.
He argued a new system would help the UK to identify new variants more quickly and protect the community from dangers.
Many European countries currently have looser travel restrictions for double-vaccinated passengers than the UK.
Spain, France and Germany have no testing requirements for double-jabbed passengers who only need to show proof of vaccination to enter.
Under the UK Government’s traffic light system, double-vaccinated passengers must take a pre-departure test as well as a PCR test on or before day two after arrival in the UK.
Countries currently on the UK’s amber list include Spain, Portugal, France and Greece.
Travel experts have welcomed the proposed changes to the traffic light system as they deem the current rules too restrictive and confusing.
Paul Charles, CEO of The PC Agency, told BBC Breakfast: “Essentially the system’s not worked because countries have been moved from one colour category to another at short notice.
“I think we need to see a standard where you can go virtually anywhere at your individual risk, you take that risk and where the testing regime is looser for those who are fully-jabbed.
“Essentially if you’re not fully-jabbed then you have the incentive to get fully-jabbed, by being able to go away and not having to pay so much in tests.”
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