Lorry drivers face new Covid-19 rules as Heathrow seeks easing of ban on holidays

Hauliers arriving from outside Britain and Ireland for more than two days will need to have Covid-19 test

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 25, 2020 A lorry driver shows their credentials to a member of the British Army, as they enter the Port of Dover, in Dover on the south-east coast of England, as the COVID-19 testing of drivers queueing to depart from the ferry terminal to Europe continues. Truck drivers coming from the UK no longer need a PCR or antigen test to enter France, according to a decree published on March 25, 2021. / AFP / Niklas HALLE'N

Some lorry drivers arriving in England must have Covid-19 tests to battle the spread of any future variants, the government said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, London's Heathrow Airport lobbied to have a ban on overseas holidays eased from mid-May.

From April 6, hauliers arriving from outside Britain and Ireland for more than two days will need to have a test within 48 hours, and one every 72 hours after as part of the new rules.

"This is to ensure we keep track of any future coronavirus variants of concern," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that Britain might need to tighten restrictions on arrivals from France.

A similar move by France in December caused chaos when it was introduced at short notice but the industry believes there is now enough rapid testing available to cause less disruption, a source told Reuters on Friday.

Most foreign travel from Britain is banned but the government's Global Travel Taskforce is due to report at the start of April on rules due to come into force from May 17.

In its submission to the taskforce, Heathrow Airport backed a four-tier system classifying countries by risk.

It would range from hotel quarantine and tests for the worst affected countries, to no limits for "green list" countries.

"Restarting trade and travel to key markets like the US after May 17 will be key to the Government achieving its Global Britain ambitions," said John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow.

The Sunday Times  reported that overseas vacations would be unlikely until August.

The Sun newspaper said ministers were considering a three-tier traffic light system, vaccine passports and testing for travel.

"We need to ensure that if there is international travel, it's done in a safe way," Culture Minister Oliver Dowden told Times Radio on Sunday.

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