They cited Jersey, which has tested all 20,000 inbound travellers on arrival – equivalent to 20 per cent of its population – since opening its borders in July and has detected 17 Covid cases. All were quarantined. In the same period, there were only four cases of “in community” infections unrelated to the border.
“If the PHE modelling had been correct in its assumptions, Jersey should have experienced a further 185 imported cases of Covid, and many dozens more cases of onward transmission within the community. It experienced none,” said Collinson’s scientists in a paper submitted to the Government.
Iceland introduced a two-test regime for arrivals from August 19, with the second after five days of quarantine, and has since seen its Covid case rate fall from 16.5 to 11.5 per 100,000 of people.
“If the PHE modelling was correct, Iceland would have experienced over 1,000 additional cases of imported Covid, and many hundreds of cases on onward transmission. They have not. Total ‘in-community’ transmission for the period (not related to the border) was just 166 cases,” said Collinson.
Greece, which carries out more than 9,000 tests a day at its ports of entry, has seen its case rate per 100,000 fall from 14.3 to 13.7, while Denmark, which uses five-minute tests on arrivals, has dropped from 15.4 to 12.9.
Germany, which moved to the Icelandic two-test model, has gone from 10.1 to 9.0, Cyprus is down from 9.4 to 7.5 and Singapore down from 10.4 to 5.8.
The Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign has won the backing of travel chiefs, airports and airlines, and MPs including former health and transport secretaries Jeremy Hunt and Chris Grayling.
On Sunday IATA, which represents the world’s airlines, will join those publicly backing it. “The stop-start closing of Britain to the world is not a successful survival tactic for Covid. Jobs are being vaporized by quarantine and they may never come back,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General.
“The answer is a Covid testing regime that manages the risk to keep people safe from the virus. And it will avoid apocalyptic unemployment that is sure to devastate society and the economy.”
Scientists have warned cases across Europe are “almost back” to the levels seen in March when infections peaked and draconian lockdowns were introduced.
Across the continent countries have been rapidly easing lockdowns, encouraging tourism and reopening in an effort to kick-start their economies.
Spain came close to clocking half a million coronavirus cases on Friday, where the pandemic is spreading at its fastest pace in Europe. Authorities registered 4,503 new infections, bringing the total to 498,989. The new wave of contagion has been less deadly than early in the pandemic, however.
Meanwhile, Ukraine registered a record 2,836 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Saturday, up from a previous record of 2,723 new cases on Friday.