Covid-19: Vaccinated passengers to UK can take cheaper lateral flow tests from October 24


London - Rule applies to travellers coming from countries not on the red list, including UAE, India and Pakistan=

By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Fri 15 Oct 2021, 2:18 PM

Last updated: Fri 15 Oct 2021, 2:32 PM

Eligible fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England from countries not on the red list - such as the UAE, India, Pakistan - can take a lateral flow test on or before Day 2 of their arrival from October 24, rather than PCR tests, cutting the cost of tests that can be booked from October 22.

Officials said on Friday that the eligible travellers will be able to order cheaper lateral flow tests from private testing providers as an alternative to a PCR, offering faster results. The list of approved private providers will go live on the GOV.UK website on October 22.

Passengers will need to take a photo of their lateral flow test and booking reference supplied by the private provider and send it back to them to verify the result. Passengers are also able to book a test which they can take on their arrival into the UK at testing centres located in some airports.

Those that have already bought a PCR do not need to buy another test. The arrival test must be taken as soon as possible on or before the second day of a passenger’s arrival in the UK. The officials said the change has been possible due to the success of the vaccination programme both in the UK and around the world.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We want to make going abroad easier and cheaper, whether you’re travelling for work or visiting friends and family. Lateral flow tests will be available later this month for those returning from half term holidays”.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, added: “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”.

All travellers must still complete their Passenger Locator Form prior to travel, including a test booking reference number supplied by a testing provider. Travellers will be able to upload their test booking reference to the Passenger Locator Form from October 22 for arrival in the UK from October 24.

Eligible travellers vaccinated in over 100 countries and territories, including UAE, Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents.

This means they will be eligible for the quarantine exemption and reduced testing measures, including taking just a lateral flow test on arrival. This is as long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England.

Passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine returning from a non-red destination must still take a pre-departure test, a PCR test on Day 2 and Day 8 test and complete 10 days of self-isolation (with the option of Test to Release on Day 5).

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