Double-shot travelers will no longer have to undergo expensive PCR Covid tests when they return to the UK, the government stands ready to announce.
Officials are working to scrap the green and orange list country requirement for the biannual holiday next month, The Mail on Sunday can reveal, giving a huge boost to millions of holidaymakers and the beleaguered travel industry.
Travelers will no longer need Covid tests before departing for Britain, while the unpopular PCR tests currently required on the second day after arrival will be replaced by cheaper lateral flow tests.
The move will cut the cost of family vacations by hundreds of pounds. Currently, the PCR test can cost over £100, while the NHS offers free lateral flow tests.
Officials are working to remove the requirement for countries on the green and orange list for the biannual holiday next month, The Mail on Sunday can reveal, giving a huge boost to millions of holidaymakers and the beleaguered travel industry
The plan is being discussed this week by Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Health Minister Sajid Javid and Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove, who form the so-called Covid-O Committee.
The change would also allay fears that some PCR companies are making a profit and could provide an incentive for people to get vaccinated, as the new rules only apply to those who have been double stung.
News of the plan came as:
- Preparing his winter plan for the coronavirus on Tuesday, the prime minister said: ‘Life has returned to normal…I am determined to abolish all the powers we no longer need because of our vaccine advocacy’;
- The UK’s Chief Medical Officers were expected to recommend extending the vaccine rollout to 12 to 15-year-olds on September 22, despite the independent Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunization (JCVI) refusing to do the same;
- Ministers expected the JCVI to recommend a vaccine booster program;
- Another 29,547 cases and 156 deaths were recorded, while the number of people who received two doses of a vaccine reached nearly 81 percent of the adult population;
- US bank Goldman Sachs urged its entire 6,000-strong workforce in the UK to return to office from tomorrow, while Cabinet Secretary Simon Case faced phone calls to encourage more officials to return to their desks.
Travelers will no longer need Covid tests before departing for the UK, while the unpopular PCR tests currently required on the second day after arrival will be replaced by cheaper lateral flow tests
At present, the government requires anyone entering the UK to pay for a PCR coronavirus test on or before the second day of arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. Those arriving from government orange-listed countries must also take a pre-departure test, which may be a PCR or lateral flow test.
The test is not required for green-listed countries, while travelers from red-listed countries must pay to stay in quarantine hotels in the UK for ten days.
Travelers are still required to follow the testing rules of the country they are traveling to, but most EU countries have specified the requirement for PCR testing for fully vaccinated individuals.
Details for those under 16 arriving in the UK are still being finalized, but they are planned to be subject to the same system.
Travelers still have to abide by the testing rules of the country they are traveling to, but most EU countries have the requirement for PCR testing for fully vaccinated
Paul Charles, boss of the travel agency The PC Agency, said last night: ‘This would be a major winner among consumers and industry. It’s exactly what we asked for, because these tests were expensive and too confusing.
“It is an important step that would boost confidence and significantly help the travel industry recover. It would help airlines, tour operators and hoteliers and, crucially, it would help the inbound travel industry, which is in turmoil.”
The current testing rules will remain in effect for those who have not been double prodded. There is growing anger over the cost of PCR testing, with a family of four often having to spend £600 or more. The Competition and Markets Authority reported widespread complaints last week about “fraudulent pricing practices to unfair terms for failure to deliver tests or on time”.
On Tuesday, Mr Johnson will outline his plan to fight Covid-19 this winter, when a rise in cases is forecast. He is expected to say vaccines will remain the first line of defense, downplaying the prospect of another lockdown by revoking several government powers, including the ability to shut down sectors of the economy, curtail events and gatherings, and detain contagious people. to hold.
The current testing rules will remain in effect for those who have not been double prodded
Statutory powers in the Coronavirus law to disrupt education and temporarily close schools are also being removed, but others – such as giving sick pay to people in isolation from day one and being able to order schools to stay open if they close against government guidelines, they are retained. An announcement about booster shots is also imminent, and the JCVI is expected to support the move.
Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, and his colleagues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to recommend vaccinations to 12- to 15-year-olds – advice the Prime Minister will accept.
Tory MP Robert Halfon said last night that if that happens, Mr Johnson and Professor Whitty should write to all parents in England to “explain why they made their decision, the science behind it and why they made a different decision to join the JCVI.” ‘. He added that “there should be a rule of parental consent, except in the most extreme circumstances.”