Heathrow Airport in West London are to open a “red list terminal” for travellers to prevent the spread of new variants entering the UK.
Currently passengers from green list countries are being forced to mix with travellers from high risk red list countries.
A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport told the i newspaper a “dedicated arrivals facility’ will be opened in the ‘coming weeks.
“Red list routes will likely be a feature of UK travel for the foreseeable future as countries vaccinate their populations at different rates.
“We’re adapting Heathrow to this longer-term reality by opening a dedicated arrivals facility in the coming weeks for red list passengers arriving on direct flights.
“Opening this facility will be logistically very challenging, but our hope is that it will enable Border Force to carry out its duties more efficiently as passenger volumes increase in line with the green list.
“Until then, the current red list system will remain in place. This system has been designed by the government and has several layers of protection to keep passengers and colleagues safe – including mandatory negative Covid tests for all international arrivals, mandatory use of face coverings, social distancing, segregation and enhanced cleaning regimes and ventilation in immigration halls.”
Professor Andrew Hayward, who is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and infectious diseases expert at University College London, gave a grim warning that he is “very concerned” the Indian variant is spreading so quickly.
Speaking to the BBC he said, “That really brings it back down to this race against the vaccine and the virus, except the virus just got faster.”