Scientists advising the government have accused the minister of “abandoning” the Covid testing system for overseas travel and warned that planned mitigation would increase the risk of importing infectious diseases and new viral variants.
Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviors that Informs the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergency Situations, said the Covid Travel Inspection System, which was criticized for “stripping” travelers, will be scrapped. He said it could have been improved.
On Friday, the government announced that the UK traffic light travel system would be overhauled on Monday, October 4.
The current system will be replaced by a single red list of countries and a simplified mode of travel for arrivals from other parts of the world.
Beginning at the end of October, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer need to undergo a PCR test before arriving in the UK.
Instead, they are allowed to take the cheaper immunochromatography.
Reicher explained that the PCR testing system is “dysfunctional” because “all different companies charge absurd fees and do not provide services”, but authorities will control it through the NHS. He said he was able to improve the scheme.
“They responded not by improving the system, but by abandoning it,” Reicher said of the government’s decision.
“I think it [the relaxation] The risk is increasing. I think there are restrictions. In fact, it loses the ability to track different variants and increases the likelihood that infected people will invade the country, “Reicher told Sky News Trevor Philips in a program on Sunday.
“Frankly, I think the risk has increased. I think the system should have been improved rather than abandoned significantly.”
Reicher also expressed concern about the limitations of immunochromatography.
“What they are doing is picking up asymptomatic cases, which is very valuable in that regard. However, I think it is much more desirable to continue the PCR test, but improve the system. And was to do them through the NHS, “he said.
Lawrence Young, a professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, agreed that planned changes to travel protocols would increase risk.
He states: “If we are not vigilant, there is a risk that new mutants, such as the Mu mutant first identified in Colombia, will be brought into the country, which may reduce the effectiveness of current vaccines.”
The relaxation of Covid’s travel testing rules is welcomed by consumer rights activists and travelers who have strongly criticized the high-priced private sector charged in Covid’s travel testing.
Dr. Simon Clark, an associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: The risk of catching Covid at home is relatively high. “
Additional report by PA news agency