LONDON – The UK Government has ended the working week with warnings to holidaymakers that there will be delays at the border due to the need for extra COVID-19 checks as well as highlighting the complexities of transatlantic travel opening up again.
This comes following the news that “from July 19 children and adults who have been fully vaccinated against Coronavirus will not have to self-isolate on their return to England from Amber List countries” (Corbishley, 2021).
According to a source at Whitehall, delays could potentially be around six hours from when you arrive in the country, which comes as no surprise especially with Heathrow Airport reporting queues of up to seven hours earlier this year (ibid).
The former Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, has called for the government to increase its Border Force resources in order to avoid this, to which the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps responded:
‘I’ve been working with the Home Secretary and Border Force on exactly this issue… quite a lot of the checking will be done upstream… so queues at check-in whilst you’re abroad may in fact be the place where those problems most exist.
‘She’s absolutely right to say that it’s important that the borders at this end are as smooth as possible and indeed a lot of investment is going into automating all of that.’ibid.
Labour Calls for Communication with Airlines
The Labour Party, who is the current opposition to the UK Government, has demanded that the Transport Secretary contacts every airline flying in and out of the UK to avoid such delays.
The full letter, from the Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon MP, reads (Labour Party, 2021):
I am writing to you after your media appearances this morning, when you spoke of the challenges passengers would face going aboard this summer.