International Travel Report | May 2021
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus (APPG) was set up in July 2020to conduct a rapid inquiry into the UK government’s handling of the Coronaviruspandemic. Its purpose is to ensure that lessons are learned from the UKGovernment’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak to date and to issuerecommendations to the UK Government so that its preparedness and responsemay be improved in future.
On 20th April 2021, the APPG heard troubling evidence on the subject of Covid-19
variants and international travel. The expert witnesses to the hearing warned of
the significant risk that international travel poses. Notably, of those witnesses
questioned in the hearing, none were prepared to travel internationally in the
Above all, the evidence makes clear that international travel poses a significant
risk of the importation of new Covid-19 variants, which may in turn lead to
further lockdowns, and inevitably, further loss of life. The APPG is calling on the
government to urgently implement our recommendations to ensure that the
hard-won progress in tackling the virus is not lost and mistakes of the past are
1. The UK government should discourage all international leisure travel to
prevent the importation of new variants into the UK, in order to reduce the
risk of a third wave and further lockdowns. The UK government must also
provide adequate financial support to businesses operating in the travel
industry. This recommendation should be implemented immediately and
reviewed on a quarterly basis.
2. In the interim and going forward where essential international travel is
necessary, the UK government should improve Covid security in arrival halls
at all UK entry points, including airports, ports and international train
a. Arrival halls should not mix passengers from red, amber or green list
countries. Arrival halls must be equipped with ventilation and
adequate space to social distance for the duration of time spent in the
b. The UK government should not delay the addition of countries to the
‘red list’. Both where ‘variants under investigation’ and ‘variants of
concern’ are identified, countries with such variants should be added
to the ‘red list’ and quarantine rules should come into force with
c. As far as possible, documentation should be verified in advance of
arriving in arrival halls, allowing travellers to board transport to
quarantine facilities rapidly upon arrival.
3. The UK government should lead calls for an international standard for proof
of negative Covid-19 test and/or proof of vaccination. Doing so will improve
the ability to detect fraudulent Covid-19 test and/or vaccine certifications. It is
not acceptable that fraudulent documents are currently identified only
through minor errors.
4. The UK government should maintain funding for international research
projects assisting the global fight against Covid-19, including those which
support the genomic analysis and tracking of new Covid variants in other
1. International travel poses a significant risk to the UK in its efforts
to control the spread of Covid-19. The current UK government
strategy to mitigate the risk of imported variants is insufficient.
2. Arrival halls at UK entry points risk becoming a ‘breeding ground’
3. UK Border Force staff identify over 100 fraudulent Covid
certificates each day at UK entry points.
4. The number of cases variants, such as the Indian variant, could be
10 to 20 times higher than official data suggests.
5. Funding to international research projects assisting the fight
against Covid-19 has been reduced, including those which support
the genomic analysis and tracking of variants.