<p>Passengers arriving back at Heathrow Airport</p>

Passengers arriving back at Heathrow Airport

Only four in 1,000 fully vaccinated travellers test positive for Covid on return to UK

Data ‘really makes the case for a much simpler and straightforward testing regime,’ says Tory MP

Lucy Thackray
Thursday 26 August 2021 10:11
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Just four in every thousand double-jabbed holidaymakers returning to the UK are testing positive for Covid, according to new research.

The figures from testing and diagnostics company Cignpost show that only 0.4 per cent of fully vaccinated travellers arriving back at UK airports at the end of July were found to have coronavirus.

Single-jabbed passengers were twice as likely to test positive, with 0.8 per cent showing up as infected; while of the unvaccinated people recorded, between 1 and 1.2 per cent tested positive.

It’s the first set of figures to take into account holidaymakers’ vaccination status, and the low infection rates shown have prompted several critics of the current travel-testing system to once more call for costly PCR tests to be scrapped.

The data is currently being studied by the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, but is being seen by some in the travel industry as proof of vaccine success.

“The data really makes the case for a much simpler and straightforward testing regime,” said Tory MP and chairman of the Future of Aviation group, Henry Smith.

He suggested that cheaper lateral flow tests, rather than PCRs, could be used for returnees from amber and green-list countries.

However, Cignpost’s own founder, Nick Markham, has questioned the accuracy of lateral flow tests, saying they yield a higher rate of false positives.

He pointed out that 0.4 per cent of 1,000 still equated to 400 Covid-positive people arriving in the UK each day.

The Cignpost research also showed that the UK’s most popular holiday destination, Spain, is the highest-risk place for travellers to contract Covid.

Those returning from Spain had a positive test rate of 0.7 per cent - just under one in 140 people.

That was six times as many as returnees from France, with a positive test rest of 0.12 per cent, and 10 times the rate recorded by those coming from Italy, at 0.06 per cent.

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