Taxi and private hire drivers can help international travellers self-isolate according to the Government.
Recently, new travel measures were put in place by the Government to help reduce the risk of overseas COVID-19 infection. Passengers entering the UK from outside the Common Travel Area (CTA) will now need to provide journey and contact details before travelling to the UK and also self isolate for a period of 14 days.
These measures apply to anyone entering the UK, regardless of nationality or length of trip. There are however some specific exemptions in place.
Sir Charles Walker MP asked the Secretary of State for Transport which part of the new guidance applies to the licensed taxi trade and whether black cabs are allowed to pick up passengers from international airports serving London.
A Department for Transport (DfT) responded confirming passengers should use public transport, taxis and private hire if “they have no other option”.
Rachel Maclean MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Transport, said: “The ’Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK’ guidance instructs those arriving in the UK and required to self-isolate to only use public transport (which includes taxis and private hire vehicles) if they have no other option.
“Passengers are advised in the ’Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel’ guidance for passengers that a face covering should be worn when using a taxi or private hire vehicle and that they may be refused carriage if they do not wear one.
“Face coverings should also be worn in other enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, for example, at stations, interchanges and ports.”
Taxi drivers and other ’high risk’ professionals will all be offered more regular COVID-19 tests under Government plans to improve at 'hunting out' the disease.
As part of the NHS Test and Trace programme, the Government will ask people working in high risk jobs to test for coronavirus even if they are showing no symptoms of COVID-19. The new measure will target people working in roles that require people to spend extended periods of time with colleagues or customers in an enclosed and confined space.
The Government hope the move will identify asymptomatic COVID-19 quickly and help stop a second peak of the virus.
There are concerns that people with the virus, but showing no symptoms, are unknowingly passing on the infection to other members of the public. It is thought that as many as 70% of people who have carried COVID-19 show none of the symptoms associated with the virus.
Whilst many taxis in the UK, especially in the big urban cities, have partitions and a two meter separation from the driver as standard, there are still many saloon model vehicles also used. Private hire vehicles all use standard saloon cars where social distancing is largely impossible.