Lateral flow tests replacing PCRs for vaccinated arrivals at half-term

Fully vaccinated people traveling to England from countries that are not on the Red List will be able to carry out a cheaper and faster lateral flow test than the PCR version from October 24th.

The change to the test on the second day after arrival comes into effect for those returning from the semester break.

Passengers must upload a photo of their test and booking reference provided by the private operator in order to verify the results as soon as possible.

Eligible travelers can order lateral flow tests from private test providers, with a list of approved private providers going online GOV.UK on October 22nd.

Passengers can also book a test which they can take at test centers at some airports upon arrival in the UK.

Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate and get a confirmatory PCR test.

Health Minister Sajid Javid said: “We want to make traveling abroad easier and cheaper, whether you are traveling for work or visiting friends and family.

“Lateral flow tests will be available later this month for those returning from the semester break.

“This switch to testing is only possible thanks to the incredible advances in our vaccination program, which means we can safely open up travel as we learn to live with the virus.”

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said, “Today’s rule changes will make arrival tests easier and cheaper for people across the country looking forward to the well-deserved breaks for this half of October.

“Eliminating the expensive mandatory PCR testing will fuel the travel industry and is a huge step forward in normalizing international travel and encouraging people to book vacations with confidence.”

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK registered airlines, said: “This is great news and we are delighted to have it in time for the crucial halftime period which will be a massive relief for families in despair this fall want to flee.

“Vaccinated passengers can rest assured that when they return to the UK they will not have to book or perform an expensive PCR test, which will further reduce travel costs.

“It complements the positive news from last week with the significant reduction in the Red List and the announcement of further mutual recognition of vaccines. Taken together, this is a huge step forward that will support the much-needed recovery in our sector. “

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said, “It’s progress, but if you’re stabbed you shouldn’t take a test at all.

“For many, test measures are not just a fool, they also represent a travel tax and, due to the higher costs, discourage a trustworthy booking.

“These barriers are certainly not going to help the travel industry recover as quickly as it should be now.

“Also, I don’t need to be tested when I return from a full football stadium, so why should I take a test when I return from a business meeting or villa vacation?”

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