Tory MP David Davis backs airport testing in favour of PM's "clunky" travel policy

29 July 2020, 20:02

Tory MP David Davis on why UK needs airport testing

By Fiona Jones

Tory MP David Davis tells LBC the UK should have coronavirus testing at airports in favour of the Government's "clunky" approach to travel.

There is growing pressure for Boris Johnson to introduce coronavirus testing for new arrivals to the UK. A powerful coalition of 47 airlines, airports and tourism leaders have written to the Prime Minister urging for the immediate adoption of a "more nuanced travel policy."

The Government responded that allowing a testing regime at airports is not a silver bullet which will allow travel restrictions to be eased.

Tory MP and former Cabinet minister David Davis sympathises with the call to temperature tests at airports, conceding that while it may not be a silver bullet, "but lead ones work sometimes.”

“This is a game of numbers, you want to catch as many as you can. If somebody tests positive when they arrive at an airport then it’d be reasonable to quarantine everybody who is on that aircraft,” said Mr Davis.

David Davis said the Government&squot;s approach to travel needs to be less "black and white"
David Davis said the Government's approach to travel needs to be less "black and white". Picture: PA

“Unfortunately the Government appears to be very clunky and black and white in the way it’s approached it.”

Iain asked if the MP was suggesting full coronavirus tests for everyone returning to the UK from another country, with the significantly cheaper temperature testing able to be installed “tomorrow.”

“The head of Heathrow said they can have full-scale testing in a couple of weeks, that’s what they had in Vienna,” Mr Davis said.

He conceded it is not perfect because if one caught the disease on the plane or a day or two before returning it would not be picked up, but if someone was on a two week holiday, he cited an 80% chance the virus would be found through the test at the airport.

When Iain asked how much this would cost, Mr Davis told Iain that Austria had managed to price it at 140 Euros a head.

“Frankly if I had the option to pay 140 Euros for a test and carry on with my life, or being told you’ve got to take two weeks out whatever the circumstances are, then I’d pay the 140 Euros,” Mr Davis said.