Heathrow Airport to open terminal for ‘red list’ arrivalson May 21, 2021 at 4:08 pm

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The airport faced criticism after arrivals from countries with a high Covid risk were made to queue with other passengers.

Queues at Heathrow

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Heathrow Airport will open a dedicated terminal for passengers arriving from countries with a high risk of Covid.

The decision follows criticism of the airport and the government after arrivals from red list countries were made to queue with other passengers.

But from 1 June, those travelling from red list countries will transit through Terminal Three, which has been closed for the past year.

They will then travel to a hotel where they will quarantine for 10 days.

It comes as the volume of passengers travelling through the airport is expected to increase after 12 countries were added to the government’s green list, meaning travellers would not ordinarily be required to isolate on return.

The vast majority of countries are on the amber list, meaning travellers must isolate at home on their return. The government advises against non-essential travel to those on the list.

Heathrow said opening of a dedicated terminal for those arriving from countries on the red list, who must isolate in a government-organised hotel on arrival, would be “logistically very challenging”.

“Our hope is that it will enable Border Force to carry out its duties more efficiently as passenger volumes increase in line with the green list.”

The airport said the arrival terminal for those landing from countries on the red list would eventually be moved to Terminal Four and that the arrangement was likely to be in place for some time.

“Red list routes will likely be a feature of UK travel for the foreseeable future as countries vaccinate their populations at different rates.

“We’re adapting Heathrow to this longer-term reality by initially opening a dedicated arrivals facility in Terminal 3 from June 1st for red list passengers arriving on direct flights,” Heathrow said in a statement.

Stock image of people taking a selfie in France

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England’s traffic light list will be reviewed every three weeks, and countries can be moved at short notice. There are similar rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Earlier on Friday, Spain said it would lift restrictions for UK travellers from Monday. But those planning to holiday in Spain while it remains on the amber list would be doing so against the advice of the government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “We’ve been clear people shouldn’t be travelling to amber list [nations] for the purpose of holidays. Our advice hasn’t changed. We will keep the green list under review… and will add countries where possible.”

Portugal is the main destination on the UK’s short “green” list of countries that are free of the quarantine requirement. Under the UK’s traffic light system, people are advised to avoid amber and red countries, where the Covid risk is greater.

The EU is currently deciding on an expanded “white list” of countries whose citizens can enter the EU freely.

The BBC has been told a final EU decision on expanding the list has been delayed for another two weeks.

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