From October 24th lateral flow tests will soon be accepted for international arrivals to the UK instead of the more expensive PCR tests.
Fully vaccinated passengers travelling from over 100 countries and territories such as South Africa, Turkey, Pakistan and Brazil will be able to upload photos of their Covid–19 test results for verification. This change to the travel rules will take effect in time for families returning from their half-term vacations. Under the existing system, PCR tests must be taken on day two after returning to England and tests can cost about £75 per person.
This news follows last month’s changes to international travel conditions as Britain simplified international travel rules to enter England in a boost to encourage the UK tourism industry.
Passengers will be eligible for quarantine exemption and lateral flow testing on arrival as long a they have not visited the seven countries on the red list within 10 days of arriving in England. Anyone testing positive will need to self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test.
The health secretary Sajid Javis said, “This change to testing is only possible thanks to the incredible progress of our vaccination programme, which means we can safely open up travel as we learn to live with the virus. We want to make going abroad easier and cheaper, whether you’re travelling for work or visiting friends and family. Lateral flow tests will be available later this month for those returning from half-term holidays.”
The Transport secretary Grant Shapps also added, today’s rule changes will make testing on arrival simpler and cheaper for people across the country who are looking forward to well-earned breaks for this Octobers half-term.
“Taking away expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a major step forward in normalising international travel and encouraging people to book holidays with confidence.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said, “This is great news and we’re pleased to get it over the line in time for the crucial half-term period, which will be a massive relief to families desperate to get away this autumn.”
Passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine returning from a country not on the red list must still take a pre-departure test, a PCR test on day 2 and day 8, and complete 10 days of self-isolation, with the option of testing for early release on day 5.
Seven Countries Still on the Red List
Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
A full list of countries removed from the red list can be found here: BREAKING: UK COVID-19 RED LIST SLASHED TO JUST SEVEN COUNTRIES