December 6, 2021

Image credit: Reuters

Covid-19: Less expensive travel testing will begin on October 24

On October 24, new rules will take effect that will allow travellers returning to England to use lateral flow testing instead of more expensive PCR tests.

The reforms will take effect in time for families to return from half-term breaks, according to the government. Passengers who have been fully vaccinated will be instructed to provide images of their Covid-19 tests for verification.

Grant Shapps, the Secretary of Transportation, stated that it would make travel easier and more convenient.

The travel sector had stated that making the improvements to the Covid travel tests before the half-term holiday was critical. The revisions come as the UK continues to have the greatest rate of Covid-19 infections and deaths in Western Europe, with 45,066 new cases reported on Thursday, the most since late July. There were also 157 deaths reported.

Although travel policy is devolved, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have previously aligned with England’s rules, noting the shared border’s practicality. However, Wales criticised the use of lateral flow tests in place of PCR tests, which are commonly referred to as the gold standard for Covid testing, claiming that this, along with other lax procedures, would “significantly raise” the danger of new variations entering the country.

PCR tests done on day two after returning to England can cost around £75 per person under the current system.

Anyone who has a positive lateral flow test result will be forced to self-isolate and take a free PCR test to confirm it once the amendments take effect.

Travelers will be able to obtain lateral flow tests starting on October 22nd, when a list of approved providers is published on the gov.uk website.

According to the government, NHS Tests and Trace tests, which are available for free, cannot be utilised for international travel.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, stated, “We aim to make going overseas easier and cheaper, whether you’re going for work or visiting friends and family.”