Fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England will be able to perform cheaper and faster lateral flow tests instead of the previously required PCR tests from October 24th.
The rule change applies to all international arrivals except those on the UK red list, which currently only includes seven countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
That means families returning from their half-time breaks don’t have to pay as much on the second test after arriving on the second day.
The government was under heavy pressure to confirm whether the change would be made in time for the popular vacation date after Health Minister Sajid Javid said last week the government was “making travel easier and cheaper for people by allowing fully vaccinated travelers to use it enables … Lateral flow tests on the second day of arrival … “- but only stated” end of October “as the goal.
Passengers will need to upload a photo of their test and booking reference provided by the private provider to review the results as soon as possible, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
You can also order lateral flow tests from private test providers – an approved list of which will go live on the gov.uk website on October 22nd.
Semester ends at most schools in England and Wales on the weekend of October 30th and 31st, but some return a week earlier.
Eligible travelers can book a lateral flow test upon arrival in the UK, which can be done at test centers at some airports, DHSC added.
Anyone who receives a positive lateral flow result must still self-isolate and perform a confirmatory PCR test.
“We want to make traveling abroad easier and cheaper, whether you’re traveling for work or visiting friends and family,” said Javid in his latest statement.
“Lateral flow tests will be available later this month for those returning from the semester break.”
He added that the test change was “only possible” because of the “incredible progress of our vaccination program, which means we can safely open up travel as we learn to live with the virus”.
Grant Shapps, the transport minister, described the move as “a big step forward in normalizing international travel” and said families can now book trips “with confidence”.
He said, “Today’s rule changes will make on-arrival testing easier and cheaper for people across the country looking forward to well-deserved breaks for this half-year in October.”
In a tweet filled with emojis, Mr Shapps added that the move “would make traveling easier and easier for everyone”.
But Paul Charles, the executive director of travel consultancy The PC Agency, condemned the change as not going far enough, saying that those who are “stabbed” don’t need to take a test at all.
In the words of the transport minister against him, Charles told the PA news agency: “For many, testing is not just a faff, but also a travel tax and deterring people from confidently booking because of the higher costs.
“These barriers are certainly not going to help the travel industry recover as quickly as it should be now.”
He added, “Also, I don’t need to be tested when I return from a crowded soccer stadium, so why should I take a test when I return from a business meeting or villa vacation?”
A deluge of vacationers took advantage of social media after the news was released, with some hailing it as “good” and “long overdue” while others labeled it “irresponsible”.
“So that’s pretty good news if you travel a lot in and out of the UK,” Nik Goodman tweeted.
A woman who only calls herself Charlotte on Twitter responded directly to Mr Shapps’ post and asked if he thought the change made sense in view of “today’s Covid case numbers”.
“Lateral flow tests are also not reliable,” she says wroteAnd adds: “If we get new variants in this country that the vaccine doesn’t work against, it’s up to you!”
The latest government figures from Thursday showed there had been an additional 45,066 laboratory-confirmed Covid cases in the UK in the past 24 hours.