Coronavirus rules will ease for returning vacationers who are fully vaccinated in what the government is hailing a “huge boost” to the travel industry.
Starting at 4 a.m. on Sunday – and in time for the mid-term holiday – fully vaccinated people arriving in England from a non-Red List country can use a lateral flow test rather than the more expensive PCR version no later than the second day.
Lateral flow tests for international travel must be purchased from a private supplier, as the NHS Test and Trace lateral flow tests cannot be used for international travel.
Reservations for the lateral flow tests opened on Friday and can be purchased from the private vendors listed on GOV.UK.
On Saturday afternoon there were 25 vendors on the government website and prices ranged from Â£ 19 to Â£ 39.
The Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) said passengers must send a photo of their test result to the private provider, adding that failure to comply could result in a fine of Â£ 1,000.
People who test positive will need to take a free NHS confirmatory PCR test and isolate.
Anyone traveling to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Channel Island or Isle of Man within 10 days of arriving in England must follow the rules of test and quarantine in these places.
Health and Social Affairs Secretary Sajid Javid said: âI am delighted that from today eligible travelers to England, who have received the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine, can benefit from a cheaper side flow test, providing faster results.
“This huge boost to the travel industry and the public will make it easier and cheaper for people to book vacations and travel abroad, and it is thanks to our incredible vaccination program that this is possible.
“Anyone who tests positive should have a PCR test, which, if positive, can be genomically sequenced to look for variants and further help us fight this virus.”
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said: âThe change in the rules for post-arrival testing will give passengers more options and faster results, just in time for many mid-term vacations.
âIt is because of the success of our vaccination program that we are able to make this change, giving industry and consumers a much needed boost. “
Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said: ‘Testing and self-isolation if you are positive remain crucial steps in managing the pandemic and stopping the spread of COVID- 19 in the community.
âIt is also essential that those who have positive lateral flow tests upon their return to England have this verified via an NHS Test & Trace PCR.
âThat way we can continue to monitor for new variants and stay on top of the virus. “