The managing director of Bondgate IT has welcomed government plans to cut the two-week quarantine period for travellers returning to this country by more than half – saying the measures will boost international trade.
Garry Brown had been supporting calls to introduce a fast-track quarantine system for companies required to send employees abroad, arguing the current 14-day quarantine system placed an unfair operational and financial strain on UK businesses.
The Darlington-based firm suffered significant disruption after two members of its staff were required to self-isolate after completing a major IT contract in Bulgaria and Finland.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the quarantine period for international arrivals will be reduced from December 15.
Passengers using the ‘test to release’ scheme will be required to self-isolate for five days after which they will take a pre-booked coronavirus test. The cost, expected to be between £65 and £120, will be paid for privately.
Garry Brown said that the scheme would be welcomed by UK businesses, particularly those smaller enterprises that could ill afford to lose staff from their frontline duties for such a long period.
Bondgate IT was committed to carry out the decommissioning of two IT sites as part of a three-year contract valued at more than £1.5m.
The staff members – both senior server and network engineers – were each required to self-isolate at home for 14 days on their return.
He said: “This was essential travel and meant that, on their return, these experienced and key members of our team were unable to fully contribute to this business at a critical time.
“The experience led me to support calls for a fast track system for business travel incorporating multiple tests and Covid-secure procedures.
“However, I welcome this latest announcement that covers all international travellers and will be a boost for the travel industry as well as a stimulus for international business.
“I see this as a responsible and measured solution to the problem created by 14 day quarantines, given that a test taken after five days of self-isolation will give a more accurate reading compared with taking a test on arrival at the point of entry.”
Almost four fifths (86 percent) of businesses polled by the Institute of Directors in July said that lengthy quarantine periods would have a negative effect on the economy.