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Covid-19: Heathrow to open dedicated 'Red List' terminal from 1st June

21 May 2021, 15:25 | Updated: 22 May 2021, 07:05

Passengers queue at Heathrow airport (file image)
Passengers queue at Heathrow airport (file image). Picture: PA

By Ben Kentish

Heathrow is to open a dedicated "Red List" terminal from the 1st June to deal with an influx of passengers from countries with high levels of Covid-19 infection.

The location of the dedicated terminal will initially be Heathrow's Terminal 3 but will move to Terminal 4 at a date yet to be confirmed, LBC understands.

The move follows concerns about "Red List" passengers mixing with passengers from Green and Amber list countries in long queues at airports.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: "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 initially opening a dedicated arrivals facility in Terminal 3 from 1 June for red list passengers arriving on direct flights.

"We will move this facility to Terminal 4 as soon as operationally possible."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said yesterday that he wanted passengers arriving from amber and red list countries to be segregated in airports.

"A lot of this is to do with the practicalities, of course, and everybody has to be tested before they are even able to get on to a flight to the UK," he said.

"But I do want to see people separated out as much as is practically possible and we have asked, and I think Heathrow will respond to this at the beginning of next month."

Mr Shapps said there was "excess space" due to the low level of travel and Heathrow is examining using a "spare terminal to bring in perhaps the red flights separately".

LBC revealed earlier this week that one hundred and ten direct flights from India have landed in the UK in the three and a half weeks since the country was placed on the travel Red List.

Analysis of flight data by LBC showed direct flights from India have continued to land in the UK at a rate of 4.5 per day, despite growing fears about a variant that has spread rapidly and quickly become dominant across much of India.

While the UK government has banned direct flights from 11 other Red List countries that have direct flights to the UK, including Brazil and South Africa, it did not adopt a similar policy when India was placed on the list. Flights are also allowed from neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Boris Johnson warned last week that rapidly rising cases of the named B1.617.2 variant, first detected in India, could derail plans to end social distancing on 21st June.

Last Friday, the Prime Minister held a press conference to warn the British public of ministers’ and scientific advisers’ fears over the variant. On that day alone, seven direct flights from India arrived in the UK.