BORIS Johnson has been told by UK airport bosses to replace quarantining for new arrivals with coronavirus testing or risk losing 110,000 jobs.
The government has so far resisted calls to test everyone entering the country, a measure already being used elsewhere, arguing that it detects relatively few cases and isn't a "silver bullet solution".
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The UK currently requires people from certain high-risk areas countries to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
More than 30 countries, including France and Germany, have introduced mass testing at airports, with people only required to quarantine if their test comes back positive.
In a letter to the prime minister, the bosses of the UK's 20 biggest airports said that "irreparable damage" would be done to the UK's economy and aviation sector if current quarantine requirements remain in place.
They said that up to 110,000 jobs were at risk in the sector and related industries, and gave Mr Johnson seven days to announce a programme of testing for new arrivals, the Telegraph reports.
“We cannot currently envisage an end to this struggle,” they wrote.
"Without robust Government support there is real possibility of irreparable damage being done to our once world beating aviation sector."
They said that £4billion worth of revenue had already been lost and that it could be four years before air travel rebounds to its pre-pandemic levels.
The letter comes after Huw Merriman, chair of parliament's transport select committee, said that a failure to introduce airport testing would mean "further barriers to travel.”
QUARANTINE TIME 'COULD BE CUT'
Speaking to the BBC this morning, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reiterated the government's position that there was "no silver bullet in airports".
"The current data suggest that the success rate of positively identifying people with Covid with a test in the airport is less than 10 percent," he said.
But he did acknowledge that more cases could be detected if new arrivals were tested a second time seven days after entering the country.
"I think the direction of travel would be make sure we've got the testing capacity and the ability to, when the time is right, ease up on the self-isolation at home," he said.
"And that's certainly something that we'll be looking at."
Ministers are reportedly considering a plan to cut the current 14-day quarantine period for new arrivals to eight days, and to carry out a second test at the end of that period.
No decision on the move has yet been made, reports say.
The debate comes amid concerns over a rise in coronavirus infection rates across the UK.
Sunday saw 2,988 new cases confirmed, the largest single-day rise since May 23.
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