• Monday, April 22, 2024


Britain starts cheaper lateral flow test for passengers from non-red list countries

FILE PHOTO: A traveller walks past a sign directing the public to a Covid testing centre at Terminal 5 in west London. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE UK on Sunday (24) started a cheaper lateral flow test instead of a PCR for fully vaccinated passengers arriving from countries not on the red list.

Passengers and most under 18s can use the test on or before day 2 of their arrival in England, a statement said. 

Bookings opened on Friday (22) and can be purchased through the private providers listed on GOV.UK from around £22 per test.

According to the statement, passengers must send a photo of their test result to the private provider – failure to do so could result in a fine of £1000– and anyone with a positive result will need to take a free NHS confirmatory PCR test and isolate.

The government said that passengers who have already bought a PCR to use for travel do not need to buy another test as PCRs can still be used.

PCR tests can be accessed for free through NHS Test and Trace – via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

“This huge boost to the travel industry and the public will make it easier and cheaper for people to book holidays and travel abroad, and it is because of our incredible vaccine programme that this is possible,” said health secretary Sajid Javid.

“Anyone who tests positive must take a PCR test, which, if positive, may be genomically sequenced to check for variants and further help us fight this virus.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said that the change in rules for post-arrival tests will give passengers more options and faster results, just in time for many half-term holidays.

All travellers must complete their passenger locator form prior to travel, including providing a test booking reference number supplied by a testing provider, the statement added.

Besides, people travelling on to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Island or the Isle of Man in the ten days after arrival in England, must follow the rules for testing and quarantine in those places.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK health security agency (UKHSA), said: “It is also critical that those who have positive Lateral Flow Tests when returning to England go on to get this checked through a NHS Test and Trace PCR. This way we can continue to monitor new variants and stay on top of the virus.”

As per guidelines, passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine returning from a non-red destination must still take a pre-departure test (antigen / PCR), a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 test and complete 10 days self-isolation (with the option of doing test to release on day 5).

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