People shouldn’t be going on holiday, says Number 10 amid reports of ‘seven-hour queues’ at border

Cathy Adams
·2-min read
Waiting game: arrivals at Heathrow airport (Simon Calder)
Waiting game: arrivals at Heathrow airport (Simon Calder)

People still shouldn’t be travelling for non-essential reasons, Number 10 has said amid reports of long queues at the UK border.

Yesterday, Heathrow’s chief solutions officer, Chris Garton, told MPs that the airport “had queues in excess of two hours and up to six hours over the past few days”.

Addressing the Transport Select Committee, the airport executive warned that passengers were becoming disruptive as they waited to be interviewed by UK Border Force.

Mr Garton said that everybody was being checked “100 per cent”, which is what contributed to the delays.

This morning it emerged that a passenger collapsed at Heathrow Airport border control after waiting in line for a reported seven hours due to delays.

Video of the incident shows the traveller lying on the floor while a border force guard kneels at their side.

The prime minister’s spokesperson today said that foreign holidays are still not permitted. According to the government’s roadmap, international travel will be permitted from 17 May at the earliest on a traffic light basis.

They said: “The first thing to say is that at this stage with where we are on our road map in this global pandemic, people should not be travelling unless absolutely necessary.

“The Border Force has staff there to check passengers are compliant with our border health measures and we continue to ask that passengers completed the necessary requirements to enter the UK in advance - things like purchasing testing packages, et cetera.

“With regards to looking forward, we are constantly trying to improve the processes at the border which maintain the checks we need to carry out to keep the public safe, while also maintaining an efficient border that doesn’t place undue wait on the public.

“We’re continuing that work and there will be more details set out ahead of the earliest date of 17 May.”

The spokesperson said the Border Force has the “right level of staffing” given the current restrictions in place on travel.

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