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The Telegraph

Airport testing plan to be announced in coming days, minister suggests

The Government is preparing to shake up air travel quarantine rules as soon as this week, a Treasury minister has indicated, as he revealed officials had been studying Germany’s “best in class” testing system. Stephen Barclay, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said a decision would be made on airport swabbing “in the coming days”, but pointed to the testing regime in Germany, where passengers arriving from high-risk countries can be rapidly tested and allowed to leave quarantine earlier. The UK has fallen behind France and Germany, both of which introduced airport testing in August. Arrivals at some German airports can take a swap costing €130 and receive a test result within 6 hours. Alternatively, people can be released from quarantine after ten days with a free test from the Government. In the UK, all people returning from high risk countries must self-isolate for 14 days. Speaking at a ConservativeHome panel at Tory Party Conference on Saturday, Mr Barclay said testing in airports was a “key priority in the sector at the moment”. “I am expecting Grant Shapps and Matt Hancock to say more about this in the coming days,” he said. “But from a Treasury point of view, the sort of things you would expect us to be looking at is: what testing can we have at airports, and how does that interact with the quarantine rules? “What is best in class internationally? So, if we look, for example, at some of the German states, which are using testing to then release earlier from some of the restrictions.” The Telegraph understands ministers are considering forming a task force to explore various options for international travel. Mr Barclay yesterday suggested the Government was examining options for “subnational