Passengers are entering the UK without contact forms being checked

The UK’s border force has been labelled an “absolute disgrace” after passengers found they could enter the country without anyone checking that they had completed a contact form required by the government.

The form is key in enabling travellers to be traced and contacted in the event that someone else on their flight turns out to have coronavirus.

However, it does not appear that border agents are always confirming that those arriving into the UK have provided this information.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Dr Michael Crozier and his wife Lee, both of whom are retired journalists, flew to Girona in Spain on 14 July, returning into Stansted airport on 18 July.

On the outward leg, there were plenty of checks in place, says Dr Crozier.

“We filled in the Spanish health control and locator form and obtained the QR Code to show on arrival,” he tells The Independent.

“At Girona, the QR code or print-out was scanned and there were six medical staff for our half-full flight FR9802 (the only one arriving that evening), ready to take temperatures and treat passengers accordingly if needed.”

However, it was a different story on the return journey.

The pair had completed the online passenger locator form 48 hours before arriving into the UK in line with Foreign Office rules.

“You will need to show your completed form when you arrive at the UK border, either by printing a copy, or showing it on your phone,” reads the guidance. “The government will use this information to contact you if you or someone you have travelled with develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

“If you need to self-isolate for the first 14 days after you arrive in the UK, the government will also use the information to check that you’re self-isolating.”

Dr Crozier was therefore surprised to find that not a single airport or government employee asked to see the form.

“We and our fellow passengers from three other flights went through passport control with no one asking to see proof we had completed the passenger locator forms, and, of course, no temperature checks or any sign of any medical monitoring staff,” he says.

“This is an absolute disgrace and shows the disconnect between Foreign Office advice and subsequent action by Border Force, the NHS or PHE.”

Stansted airport said temperature and medical checks were currently not required by the government, and said passenger locator form checks were the responsibility of border force officials, not airport staff.

“Passengers should complete the form before arriving at the airport – it can be done 48 hours before flying – and is checked as part of the inspection at the border but there is also an opportunity to complete it at the airport if passengers haven’t already done so,” said a spokesperson for the airport.

The Independent has contacted the Home Office, which is responsible for border force, for comment.

Source: Read Full Article