Covid-19: Vaccinated visitors to the UK can use cheaper tests from today

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

London - A lateral flow test, instead of a PCR test, can cost only Dh111

By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Sun 24 Oct 2021, 2:15 PM

Eligible and fully vaccinated passengers from countries not on the United Kingdom’s (UK) ‘red list’ – such as the UAE, India and Pakistan – arriving in England can take a cheaper lateral flow test on or before Day 2 instead of a PCR test from Sunday.

Bookings for the tests opened on Friday and can be purchased through private providers listed on GOV.UK from around £22 (Dh111) per test.

The arrivals must send a photograph of their test result to the private provider, failure to do so could result in a fine of £1000 (Dh5,055).

The lateral flow tests are significantly cheaper than PCR tests.

Anyone with a positive result will need to take a free National Health Service (NHS) confirmatory PCR test and isolate, officials said.

The British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said, “I’m delighted that from today eligible travellers to England, who’ve had the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine can benefit from a cheaper lateral flow test, providing faster results.”

He added, “This huge boost to the travel industry and the public will make it easier and cheaper for people to book holidays and travel abroad, and it is because of our incredible vaccine programme that this is possible. Anyone who tests positive must take a PCR test, which, if positive, may be genomically sequenced to check for variants and further help us fight this virus.”

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

The UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “The change in rules for post-arrival tests will give passengers more options and faster results, just in time for many half-term holidays. It’s thanks to the success of our vaccination programme that we can make this switch – giving the industry and consumers a much-needed boost.”

The officials added that all travellers must complete their passenger locator form prior to travel, including providing a test booking reference number supplied by a testing provider.

Anyone travelling on to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Island or the Isle of Man in the 10 days after arrival in England, must follow the rules for testing and quarantine in those places.

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