Fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England will be able to take a lateral flow test – rather than a more expensive PCR test – from October 24.
The government has confirmed the date for the switchover, which will see the publication of an approved list of private providers with whom a lateral flow test must be booked (from October 22) and submitted no later than the second day of their arrival in England from third countries. red list countries.
A government statement said passengers should upload a photo of their test with the booking reference provided to verify results as soon as possible, with free follow-up PCR tests available for any positive cases. The NHS Test and Trace tests cannot be used for international travel, he added.
Passengers arriving in England after October 24 and who have already purchased PCR tests do not need to purchase a new test.
Health and Social Affairs Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We want to make traveling abroad easier and cheaper, whether you are traveling for work or visiting friends and family. .
“This test change is only possible because of the incredible progress in our immunization program, which means we can safely open travel as we learn to live with the virus.”
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, added: “The removal of mandatory and expensive PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a big step forward in standardizing international travel and encouraging people to book vacations safely. confidence. “
The government has said it will allow certain tests provided in the private testing market that are awaiting validation to remain in the market for the short term to address any potential supply shortages while work continues to ensure that only the best performing tests are ultimately approved for use.
Passengers returning from destinations not on the Red List who are not fully vaccinated with an authorized vaccine must still take a pre-departure test, a second day PCR test and a day 8 test and complete ten days of self-isolation.
Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, said: “Expensive PCR tests have been a major financial and logistical barrier to business and leisure travel, and the BTA welcomes their long overdue abolition. To continue the long road to recovery, it is essential that the government now take a leadership role in developing coherent international protocols for entry.