UK to slash quarantine restrictions for holiday travel over Christmas to 5 days

Blanket quarantine restrictions are set to be slashed in time for Christmas (Image: Getty Images)

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Blanket quarantine restrictions will reportedly end in time for Christmas so families can travel to high-risk "red list" countries to visit relatives.

The UK transport secretary Grant Shapps will announce on Monday that restrictions will be slashed from 14 days to five if holidaymakers test negative five days after returning to the country.

The regulations will be changed to enact the new five-day regime on December 15 or 16, with people freed from quarantine as soon as they get their test results, according to the Telegraph.

The "test and release" scheme could allow people to stop quarantining once they receive a negative Covid test result.

Ramped up testing will mean negative results allow for quarantine time to be reduced
(Image: PA)

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It is understood fast tests which give results within one hour will be used.

This will be good news for the aviation industry which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with flights cancelled and huge loss in revenues.

A Whitehall source told the  Daily Mail : "We are keen to get people flying again when it is safe to do so, and the Prime Minister is particularly concerned about the impact we have seen on business travel.

Soldiers carry out mass coronavirus testing in Liverpool
(Image: PA)

"Cutting the quarantine time from 14 days to five has the potential to make a huge difference."

It comes as extended families are set to celebrate the festive period together as households will be allowed to temporarily "bubble up" for up to five days.

Ministers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed to allow "some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days" over Christmas, the Cabinet Office has said.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps
(Image: NurPhoto/PA Images)

But following a meeting on Saturday, they "reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real".

Families will have to choose their bubble in advance and will be allowed to spend time indoors with them – including at the pub, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson will pledge major testing testing programmes for all areas forced into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions after the end of England's national lockdown on December 2.

The Prime Minister is to announce on Monday that the communities will get rapid testing with military support under his plans for a strengthened three-tier system to replace the current measures from next month.

Mr Johnson will hope the potential route out of the severest measures will help convince Conservative MPs and local leaders into backing his "Covid winter plan" amid the potential for a backbench rebellion and wider resistance.

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