Families returning from October half-term holidays could be forced to spend ANOTHER £75 on PCR tests once back in the UK
- Cabinet source says ‘real chance’ PCR tests will stay for half term holidaymakers
- The move would be a major blow for holidaymakers and the travel industry
- The Government previously said PCR tests would be replaced by lateral flow
- Separately, Sajid Javid was said to propose video calls for those doing tests
Families returning from holidays this half-term may be forced to spend another £75 on PCR tests once back in the UK, it has been reported.
While the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the government ‘aimed’ to have cheaper lateral flow tests ready and in place in time for half term, a source told The Sun that ministers had been urged to keep the tests because of fears over new variants.
‘There’s a very real chance PCRs will still have to be taken after the half-term holidays,’ the source told the newspaper.
The move would be a major blow for millions of holidaymakers and the beleaguered travel industry.
Officials had been working to towards scrapping the requirement for passengers returning from green and amber list countries to take PCR tests ahead of the school holidays.
British holidaymakers leaving Ibiza airport. The government has said returning travellers will no longer be required to pay for a PCR tests once back in the UK, and will instead have a cheaper lateral flow test. However, a cabinet source told The Sun PCR tests ‘will still have to be taken after the half-term holidays’ because of fears of new variants
Last month, the Government said travellers would no longer need Covid tests before leaving for Britain, while the unpopular PCR tests currently required on the second day after arrival would be replaced by cheaper lateral flow tests.
At present, the Government requires all those entering the UK to pay for a PCR coronavirus test on or before the second day after their arrival, no matter what their vaccination status.
Those arriving from countries on the Government’s amber list also have to take a pre-departure test, which can be a PCR or lateral flow test.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who was said to be concerned that those taking the tests could lie about the results, proposed returning travellers do their lateral flow test on video calls supervised by a health adviser from a private firm
The test is not required for green list countries, while those travelling from red list nations must pay to stay in UK quarantine hotels for ten days.
Travellers will still be required to adhere to the testing rules of the country to which they are travelling but most EU countries have abandoned the requirement for PCR tests for the fully vaccinated.
On Monday, new rules were introduced to make travel to the UK ‘easier and cheaper’, which included scrapping the travel light system, and replacing it by categorising countries as either ‘red list’ or ‘the rest of the world’.
The Government said the new rules also mean that from later in October eligible fully-vaccinated passengers with an ‘approved vaccine and recognised certificate’ from a country not on the red list will be able to ‘replace their day two test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England’.
A spokesman said: ‘The government aims to have this in place for when people return from half-term breaks.’
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who was said to be concerned that those taking the tests could lie about the results, proposed returning travellers do their lateral flow test on video calls supervised by a health adviser from a private firm, reported The Times.
Elsewhere, there was speculation among travel industry leaders that PCR tests will be scrapped for the cheaper alternative around October 25 – the start of half term for many families.
Last month, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed no date had been set for the removal of PCR testing for fully vaccinated travellers.
Asked when PCR tests may be replaced by lateral flow tests, Mr Shapps told the Commons Transport Select Committee that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was ‘aware’ of the dates of October half-term.
He added: ‘They (DHSC) are aware of half-term and are working closely with the private-sector providers to ensure we can do this as quickly as possible.’
Holidaymakers could be forced to film themselves taking a lateral flow Covid test after returning to Britain in new proposals to ensure people don’t lie about positive results
Sajid Javid wants holidaymakers to film themselves taking a coronavirus test after returning to the UK, it was reported last night.
The Government is planning to replace the requirement for double-vaccinated travellers to take a PCR test on their return to Britain with a much cheaper lateral flow swab.
But the Health Secretary is said to be concerned that those taking the tests could lie about the results.
He is proposing travellers do their lateral flow test on video calls supervised by a health adviser from a private firm, The Times reported.
This is similar to the way some pre-departure tests which were scrapped last weekend were conducted.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester yesterday
No date has been set for the change but there is speculation among travel industry leaders that it will be around October 25, the start of half term for many families.
On Monday, new rules introduced to make travel to the UK ‘easier and cheaper’ came into force.
The UK’s traffic light system involving green, amber and red lists was scrapped, with locations categorised as either on the red list or not.
It comes amid reports the number of countries on the red list will be slashed to nine from 54 later this week.
Destinations such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa are expected to be opened up to quarantine-free travel.
Fully vaccinated residents – and unvaccinated under 18s – from more than 50 countries and territories can now enter the UK without needing to complete a pre-departure lateral flow test.
Just a single day-two post-arrival test will now be needed. Under 11s were already exempt from pre-departure testing.
A person holds a negative lateral flow Covid-19 test in front of a UK passport (file picture)
People arriving from a red tier destination will still be required to spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel costing £2,285 for solo travellers.
The easing of the quarantine and testing regulations – announced last month – has been welcomed by the travel sector.
Airlines and tour operators have been hit hard during the pandemic, and have accused the Government of being too slow to relax and simplify the rules for international travel.
Britain’s current red list of 54 countries and territories
The UK Government’s ‘red list’ of 54 countries is tipped to be reduced to just nine. These are the countries currently on the red list:
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Trinidad and Tobago
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