Aviation: Coronavirus

Department for Transport written question – answered on 27th April 2020.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what checks are being conducted to establish the health of incoming travellers at UK airports during the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is working to a scientifically-led, step-by-step action plan, focusing on taking the right measures at the right time.

Targeted screening measures were carried out at UK airports for inbound passengers during the containment phase of the pandemic when the aim was to prevent the virus coming in to the UK.

Whilst there is community transmission within the UK, the role played by imported cases is less significant and so our focus in the current delay phase has not been on screening measures at the border. Additionally, it is vital that flights are still able to land in the UK in order to allow Britons who have been stranded abroad as a result of the pandemic to return home, and to allow key supplies to continue moving into and around the UK.

Airlines and airports have already implemented additional measures in response to COVID-19 in line with advice from PHE, SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Airports are displaying posters and digital signage relaying Government information about COVID-19. Passengers arriving into UK airports are being given a leaflet with information about the measures in place in the UK, and announcements are made on aircraft an hour before landing.

As you would expect our approach is being kept under review as the pandemic develops. This may mean that measures and procedures change as we control the spread of, and understand more about, the virus. Any changes to our approach will be led by advice from SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Protecting the health of the UK public will always come first.

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