Travel: PCR test scrap to save families '£200' says expert
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The UK Government said the change on travel testing would be brought in on October 24 with tests available to order from October 22. The change will be available for double-vaccinated adults returning to the UK from a non-red country.
Lisa Minot, Travel Editor at The Sun, told BBC News: “It’s huge. This is going to save the average family of four about £200 on tests for a return trip back to the UK for this day two.
“And it’s going to be a really positive move for the industry and hopefully is going to encourage people to say, right ‘I can now book safe in the knowledge I’m not going to be shelling out for expensive PCR tests’.
“If you look at the rest of Europe, nowhere else in Europe generally is having to ask people to take a test once you’re actually arriving in the country.
“So I think it definitely puts it in line with other European nations and as I say it’s a really positive move, people have been really confused over the last few months as to which tests they had to take and when they had to take them.”
She added: “The removal of the pre-departure test, that test we had to take to get back into the UK was another really positive step forward because for a lot of people, they would worry about going on holiday.
“What happens if I catch Covid on holiday, will I have to quarantine abroad? So it’s yet another of the worries that was taken away.”
PCR tests had been criticized for being overpriced and forcing families to fork out hundreds of pounds for a holiday.
Lisa said: “Generally, you would see a PCR test between around £60 and maybe £100 and now the lateral flow we’re seeing is around £20 to £35 pounds so there’s a real difference in price.”
She also issued a warning for British tourists to make sure they don’t book an incorrect type of lateral flow tests.
She said: “It’s also worth noting we can start booking these new lateral flow tests from October 22 and of course you start taking them from October 24 so we have to make sure we’re booking the right type of lateral flow tests because there are still some available to be booked on private test websites at the moment.”
Grant Shapps had previously said he hoped that the new testing regime would be in place for half-term holidays.
There had been fears families in Leicestershire who break for half-term a week earlier than the rest of England could be excluded.
As long as they get back in the UK on or after October 24, they will still be able to access the cheaper tests, although families going on a shorter break will still need to use PCRs.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “This is great news and we’re pleased to get it over the line in time for the crucial half term period, which will be a massive relief to families desperate to get away this autumn.”
Grant Shapps had previously said: “Taking away expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a major step forward in normalising international travel and encouraging people to book holidays with confidence.”
A list of approved testing providers will be published on the UK Government website on October 22.
British tourists are also advised to check the UK Government website for travel updates for their destination before going.
Fully vaccinated passengers will need to upload a photo of their lateral flow test result for verification.
Wales has previously criticised the scrapping of PCR tests, saying it could “considerably” increase the risk of COVID-19.
However, many other European countries have already scrapped any form of testing for double-jabbed passengers.
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