Demands grow for relaxation of international travels

Adar Poonawala pledges £1mn to help Indian students with their quarantine costs in the UK

Wednesday 04th August 2021 11:35 EDT

As Britain opens its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from US and EU, demands grow especially from industry leaders to ease further restrictions and allow people to enjoy the benefits of a successful Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Those with families in India, are hoping for a change of status for India from Red List to Amber this month, saving them a lumpsum of £1750 to quarantine in hotels. In UK, NISAU, an Indian students’ body’s efforts led to Adar Poonawala, CEO and Owner of Serum of Institute India pledged £1mn to support Indian students heading to the UK to study, especially help them afford quarantine costs. Currently 57,000 Indian students are headed to the UK to study.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other MPs have joined the urge for a simpler system with scrapping of ‘amber watchlist’ and a safe opening of borders.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday told the journalists that he wanted to get the travel industry moving again with a simple user-friendly system, to allow people to travel abroad, without importing the new variant.  

He reportedly said, "We need to get people, get the travel industry moving again. We want an approach that is as simple as we can possibly make it."

Confederation of British Industries (CBI) has joined other industry bodies urging the relaxation of international travels at the earliest. John Foster, CBI Policy Director, said, “The international travel sector is in the last chance saloon for its the summer season. Restrictions must be relaxed if beleaguered businesses are to salvage any opportunity to trade their way towards recovery this year. 

“The UK’s successful vaccine rollout, coupled with lessons learned throughout the pandemic, offer genuine opportunity for more travel to resume safely. The UK urgently needs to widen the list of those able to avoid self-isolation on their return, to include individuals who have received UK approved vaccines, rather than just those who received NHS vaccines. 

“Rebuilding passenger confidence will be key. Establishing simple, consistent rules and communicating them clearly is essential. The decision to abandon publication of an amber watchlist is a sensible step towards that goal, but the government must get back to consulting industry first, thus creating better policy and enabling improved implementation.

“In addition to lifting restrictions, Government should prioritise the creation of an efficient pre-travel system of assessing passengers’ Covid-status to prevent congestion at airports.

“Meanwhile, further economic support for the sector will also be needed until passenger numbers recover. This will be vital to protect jobs and skills and ensure the UK’s travel sector remains competitive with global peers.”

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