Travellers to England from green and amber countries may no longer face Covid checks on arrival to 'speed up queues'
BRITS returning to England from green and amber list destinations may no longer face Covid checks at the airport.
It was revealed yesterday that some passengers were told to lie on their arrival forms to avoid long queues at immigration.
New rules have been introduced this week which allowed fully vaxxed Brits to return from amber list countries without having to quarantine for 10 days.
Instead, Brits will need a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), a negative pre-arrival Covid test and a second test on day two pre-booked.
However, the mandatory PLFs and Heathrow's e-gates are yet to be updated to allow this – meaning eligible Brits were told to either queue for hours in immigration or lie on the form.
Now, leaked instructions to Border Force staff, seen by the Guardian, are telling them to not check if Brits have tested negative or have a completed PLF.
One officer said that they should not be turning a "literal blind eye" to the checks while another said there was "empirical evidence" Brits who had tested positive for Covid were travelling as their forms were not properly checked.
TURNING A BLIND EYE
The government told the Guardian that they were not able to comment on the documents, but that airlines must follow all of the checks currently in place, explaining: "Compliance with these rules is essential in order to protect the population from new variants of Covid-19, and so there will be tough fines for those who do not follow the rules.”
Lucy Moreton, professional officer for the ISU, which represents border immigration and customs staff in the UK, said that Border Force staff have also been told not to challenge Covid documentation "even if it is recorded on the system that the documentation has not been completed".
She said it would reduce queue times – of which they are feared to be as long as four hours during the peak summer months – as well as reduce the abuse to Border Force.
Ms Moreton previously warned: "We’re seeing queues of one to two hours. From the number of bookings we’ve seen already, we’ll easily see three, four-hour queues when people start returning.”
Passengers were forced to queue for 90 minutes at immigration earlier this week, with airport staff handing out water bottles as UK temperatures hit 30C.
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