Travellers have started to flown into the UK as they try to beat a new Covid crackdown that begins at 4am tomorrow – with quarantine hotels and facial recognition technology lined up to ensure people isolate.
Arrivals could be seen hugging loved ones as they landed at Heathrow this afternoon, following a busy morning in the departures lounge.
Earlier today passengers were queuing in the departures lounge, as a travel consultant warned there were ‘bumpy days ahead,’ when new travel rules come into place.
Depatures were expected to be busier as business travellers fly-out on Sundays ahead of the working week.
More arrivals are expected later this evening after thousands flew in to the UK yesterday ahead of Monday’s restrictions.
Travellers could be seen waiting for their results after taking tests inside Terminal 5.
Queues at Heathrow today come amid concerns that most UK arrivals are going unchecked for Covid compliance by Border Force
From 4am tomorrow passengers will have to hand over a negative Covid-19 test certificate to check-in staff before flying to the UK.
Guidance on the Government website states it must meet standards on ‘specificity and sensitivity’ of 90 per cent and 87 per cent respectively.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘There’s likely to be some very bumpy days ahead where travellers coming in will face some confusion over their tests.
‘Airline staff are not medical experts and I expect there will be some confusion over whether the Covid test certificates meet the specifity and sensitivity requirements that the Government has set out.
‘I’d advise to anyone arriving in Britain is before they pack their bags, to check the Government website and make sure they get the right test before flying out.’
The Government has pointed out PCR, LAMP and lateral-flow tests are all acceptable methods.
All arrivals to the UK could face staying in new quarantine hotels under plans to reduce the transmission of new coronavirus variants from abroad – but there are concerns 90 per cent of arrivals could go unchecked by Border Force.
Officials have been told to prepare to use facial-recognition and GPS technology in order to ensure people stay in isolation when they arrive in the country.
Passengers are being asked to complete online passenger locator forms to tell officials where they are staying after arriving in the UK.
But MPs have heard just one in 10 of the forms are checked by Border Force, while police officers told to visit addresses for potential breaches of quarantine simply walk away if no one answers – with no follow up investigation.
Since the start of the pandemic, millions of people have flown in to the UK, but just 247 fines have been handed out to people flouting quarantine rules