- Healthcare professionals are urging PM Boris Johnson to put down a series of “firm” and “actual” dates when air travel can be fully resumed.
- COVID will not be eliminated by vaccinations, so there is an urgent need to find long-term solutions to live with it.
- A combined program of regular COVID-19 testing alongside the vaccination program, the wearing of masks, and regular hand sanitization is the key to resuming confidence in air travel.
Healthcare professionals are calling on the UK government to open up both domestic and international air travel as they firmly believe that the combination of testing, vaccinations, and other safety measures can get the global airline and travel industry moving again. They want the British Government to give a clear and definitive set of dates to allow the safe resumption of global air travel. It is due to make an announcement about the resumption of air travel to the British public on the April 12.
COVID testing provider Salutaris People and Test Assurance Group (TAG) have set up the first rapid PCR test facility at a UK airport which can deliver rapid PCR tests and certificates in under 3 hours offering Fit to Fly, Test to Release, as well as 2- and 8-day testing. The purpose-built testing suite, which is in partnership with Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, can facilitate the rapid PCR tests with its own onsite laboratory at the airport. It is one of the only airports in the UK able to do this, compared to the normal 48-hour turnaround for PCR tests.
Ross Tomkins MD of Salutaris People urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to put down a series of “firm” and “actual” dates when domestic, European, and international air travel can be fully resumed, which will give certainty and restore confidence to both the airline and travel industries.
Tomkins believes that a combined program of regular COVID-19 testing alongside the vaccination program, the wearing of masks, and regular hand sanitization is the key to resuming confidence in air travel. He warned that unless a clear set of dates are laid out during the announcement on April 12 that the government would risk plunging the UK and wider global economy into “an even greater economic crisis than we are currently facing.”
He also warned of the “ticking time bomb” of mental and physical health issues that will impact and overwhelm the NHS and private healthcare practices for decades to come.
“The government simply cannot continue to act in this manner and offer such vagaries over air travel any longer. The government’s indecision and actions surrounding the resumption of air travel have been incompetent at best and reckless at worst. We need a clear and unequivocal set of dates for a staged resumption in air travel. Factored into that plan there needs to be a clear remit of pushing through with COVID-19 testing, the wearing of masks, social distancing, and thorough hand sanitization. I believe the public would gladly comply with these requirements if it meant they could resume air travel, enjoying leisure and holiday breaks again.”
He continued: “The simple facts are that UK Plc is now £2 trillion in debt, businesses are going to the wall, people are losing their jobs. We now have some of the biggest airlines and travel companies in the world on the verge of collapse and who may literally go out of business overnight. Without a clear, robust plan and certainty of precise dates air travel can resume again, the airlines and travel companies cannot continue to survive.
“This is not to mention the phenomenal impact COVID has had on the public’s mental health and general wellbeing. Across our occupational health practices, we have seen a sharp increase in employees and patients suffering from stress, anxiety, and musculoskeletal disorders including those with Long COVID. Such issues are significantly affecting their day-to-day lives and their ability to function in the workplace.”