Air passengers might be screened again eight days after arriving in UK

Air passengers could be tested eight days after arrival under plans to get Britain flying again.

Ministers are considering two options to open up the skies and help rescue the Covid-ravaged economy.

Under the first, passengers would be given an airport test on arrival followed by a second test a few days later. The second option is for a single test after five to eight days of self-isolation.

Insiders say the Department for Transport is 'rattled' by mounting Tory anger over the disastrous 14-day quarantine policy. Scores of MPs and business chiefs are supporting the Mail's drive for Covid-19 tests to save thousands of jobs. In a boost for our campaign, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday said a testing regime was under review but would be 'no silver bullet' to end quarantine.

Aviation chiefs are furious at the slow pace of progress and want a firm commitment to border tests by the end of the week.

Leaders from the likes of Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Luton have set the Prime Minister a seven-day deadline to replace mandatory self-isolation with Covid-19 testing at airports.

In the letter seen by the Daily Telegraph - also addressed to Chancellor Rishi Sunak - 20 airport chief executives claimed testing, alongside other measures, could save 110,000 jobs industry-wide.

Having already lost over £4billion due to reduced traffic during the pandemic, they wrote: 'We cannot currently envisage an end to this struggle, and without robust Government support there is real possibility of irreparable damage being done to our once world-beating aviation sector.'

Led by Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, conservative chair of the Airport Operators' Association, the signatories stressed that testing, along with regional travel corridors, were critical to opening up travel.

It is also believed scores of Tory MPs will today urge the government to back testing in airports to remove a 'barrier to travel'.

Airport bosses from Britain’s largest transport hubs have warned Boris Johnson that he risks ‘irreparable damage’ to the economy if quarantining upon arrival is not scrapped. Pictured: Passenger wearing face covering has temperature checked

Airport bosses from Britain's largest transport hubs have warned Boris Johnson that he risks 'irreparable damage' to the economy if quarantining upon arrival is not scrapped. Pictured: Passenger wearing face covering has temperature checked

In the letter seen by the Daily Telegraph - also addressed to Chancellor Rishi Sunak - 20 airport chief executives claimed testing, alongside other measures, could save 110,000 jobs industry-wide. Pictured: Arrivals at Gatwick Airport

In the letter seen by the Daily Telegraph - also addressed to Chancellor Rishi Sunak - 20 airport chief executives claimed testing, alongside other measures, could save 110,000 jobs industry-wide. Pictured: Arrivals at Gatwick Airport

TUI managing director Andrew Flintham also criticised the lack of testing at airports last night, writing in the Daily Telegraph: 'This Government wants to get people back to work - but what happens when there's no work for people to come back to.'  

In a boost for the Daily Mail's campaign, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday said a testing regime was under review but would be 'no silver bullet' to end quarantine.

But aviation chiefs are furious at the slow pace of progress and want a firm commitment to border tests by the end of the week.

Ministers are now leaning toward the idea of a single Covid-19 test eight days after arrival to cut travel quarantine times by almost half. 

The Mail understands that the single test would see travellers swabbed at an NHS testing centre or given home kits. A negative result would allow for early release from the 14-day quarantine rule.

Airlines welcomed the move but warned time is fast running out. Industry leaders want ministers to commit to testing this week, with a firm timeline for implementation.

They fear failure will wreck hopes of a rise in bookings over the autumn half term and lead to mass redundancies when the furlough scheme ends next month. Scores of Tory MPs and business chiefs are supporting the Daily Mail's campaign for Covid-19 tests at ports and airports and save thousands of jobs.

Led by Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, conservative chair of the Airport Operators’ Association, the signatories stressed that testing, along with regional travel corridors, were critical to opening up travel

Led by Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, conservative chair of the Airport Operators' Association, the signatories stressed that testing, along with regional travel corridors, were critical to opening up travel

Bosses from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Luton set the Prime Minister a seven-day deadline to replace mandatory self-isolation with Covid-19 testing on arrival

Bosses from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Luton set the Prime Minister a seven-day deadline to replace mandatory self-isolation with Covid-19 testing on arrival

There is growing frustration at the Prime Minister's insistence that a single test on arrival would only detect 7 per cent of coronavirus cases.

Public health experts and industry leaders have accused Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of ignoring an official Sage science advisers' report showing tests five days after arrival will detect 85 per cent of cases and 96 per cent after eight days. They also point out that the 7 per cent figure is based on a three-month-old Public Health England model that does not account for real-world data from 30 countries that have introduced airport testing regimes.

Ministers have stoked further confusion by failing to clarify whether the 7 per cent figure refers only to asymptomatic carriers or to all coronavirus cases.

One Tory MP said: 'There is a growing realisation that Downing Street might have got the wrong end of the stick on all this.

'It is possible the risk of airport testing is being dramatically over-estimated.'

Sir David Spiegelhalter, a Cambridge University professor and one of the UK's top statisticians, yesterday described the Government's defence of 14-day quarantine as 'hopelessly wrong'.

There is growing frustration at the Prime Minister's insistence that a single test on arrival would only detect 7 per cent of coronavirus cases

There is growing frustration at the Prime Minister's insistence that a single test on arrival would only detect 7 per cent of coronavirus cases

He said even if only 7 per cent of cases were picked up 'the vast majority of people will have correct negative tests'.

He described a single test on arrival as a 'straw man' and called for 'proper cost-effectiveness analysis of reasonable repeat strategies'.

Senior Tories, including a number of former transport ministers, are now calling on Downing Street to carry out a review of data from countries with airport testing. One former minister told the Mail: 'They keep referring to this out-dated and questionable 7 per cent figure. I'm hoping it is a fig leaf while they work out how to do a reverse ferret.'

Sir Graham Brady, leader of the 1922 committee of backbenchers, said: 'The variety of tests available means that there are a number ways of having far greater confidence that passengers are not carrying infection.

'This can also be done by means of a double-test with tests taken a few days apart from each other.

'Britain's aviation industry is on its knees and this country has lagged behind all its main competitors in terms of getting an airport regime in place.

'This should be done urgently while we still have a world-leading aviation industry.'

Tory MP Henry Smith, whose constituency includes Gatwick, said: 'Boris and Shapps need to start looking at other countries which have introduced airport testing. These are big economies which we compete with. If it's working for them, why not us?

Official Sage science advisers’ report showing tests five days after arrival will detect 85 per cent of cases and 96 per cent after eight days but Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) have been accused of ignoring this

Official Sage science advisers' report showing tests five days after arrival will detect 85 per cent of cases and 96 per cent after eight days but Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) have been accused of ignoring this

'No system is fool-proof. That goes for testing as well as quarantine. But I would argue that airport tests are a far more fool proof then a blanket 14-day quarantine that

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