A cross-party group of MPs has called on the government to “fix the chaotic scenes unfolding at airports” amid reports of long queues and red list passengers mixing with other arrivals.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus also urged “urgent action” to prevent new Covid variants entering the UK, ahead of the next review of the traffic light travel list.
It said its calls following a warning from the Immigration Services Union – which represents border force staff – that passengers from red list countries who have transited via a green or amber list nation are still mixing with other arrivals.
Border force staff shortages due to Covid-19 are also reportedly leading to long queues at airports.
The APPG on Coronavirus published a report in May calling on the government to introduce urgent measures to reduce overcrowding in airports, increase checks to spot fake test certificates and prevent the mixing of arrivals from green, amber and red list countries.
Recent research commissioned by the APPG has found that only 13% of positive tests from red list countries and 3% from amber list countries were checked for variants in the three weeks to June 30.
Caroline Lucas MP, vice-chair of the APPG on coronavirus, said: “The government’s border policy is leading to chaotic scenes at UK airports and leaving the country dangerously exposed to new variants.
“The surge in the delta variant was a direct result of the failure to secure our borders, yet ministers are still repeating the same mistakes.
“Urgent action is needed to prevent an even more dangerous variant taking root in the UK, including sequencing positive tests and separating all red list arrivals.”
Meanwhile, prime minister Boris Johnson has been talking about the public’s appetite for travel during a visit to Scotland.
The Telegraph reported that he told reporters: “I know how important holidays are to people.
“People think about them, they save up for them, people yearn to go abroad this year – I totally get that.
“We’ve got to balance that against the need to protect our country against the influx of new variants.
“We’ve got a balanced policy but clearly we have the benefit now of the double-jab system that is enabling us to … come from the countries in the EU, without having to quarantine, and the same goes for the US.”
On Monday (August 20), he vowed to deliver a “simple” and “user-friendly” system for international travel following criticism of the introduction of an ‘amber watchlist’.