The new regulations that will allow travelers returning to England to have lateral flow testing instead of the more expensive PCR test, are in effect as of 24/10.

According to the government, these changes will be in effect for half-term break families.

Passenger who have been fully vaccinated will need to send photos of the Covid-19 test results for verification.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, stated that it will make traveling easier.

Travel industry representatives stated that it was essential to change the Covid travel testing in time for half term holidays.

Tim Alderslade is the chief executive officer of Airlines UK. He said, “This news is fantastic and we’re happy to get it over to the line in time to the crucial half-term period. This will be a huge relief for families who want to escape this autumn.”

He said that the changes, along with the reduction in the travel red-list and recognition of vaccines given in more countries last week, are “a significant step forward” which will help to support the sector’s recovery.

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These changes are occurring as the UK continues its highest rate of Covid-19 deaths and infections in west Europe. Another 45,066 Covid-19 cases were recorded Thursday, the most since July.

Additional 157 deaths have also been recorded.

Although travel policy is now devolved in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland previously aligned themselves with England’s policies on the basis of the common border.

Wales criticized replacing PCR tests which are commonly referred as the gold-standard for Covid testing with lateral flows tests. She stated that it, together with other more relaxed measures, would “considerably raise” the chance of new variants being introduced into the country.

Under the existing system, PCR tests taken on day two after returning to England can cost about £75 per person.

Anyone who has a positive result on their lateral flow tests will need to self-isolate to get a free PCR test.

The gov.uk website will publish a list with approved providers so that travelers can order their lateral flows tests starting 22 October.

The government stated that the NHS Test and Trace (which can be ordered free of charge) cannot be used to travel internationally.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary said that “We want it to be easier and more affordable for people who travel abroad whether they are visiting family or friends.”

According to him, the vaccines have made the transition possible. “We can now safely allow travel once we are able to learn to live with this virus.”

Shapps stated that “removing expensive mandatory PCR testing would boost the travel sector and be a significant step towards normalising international travel. It will encourage people to book holiday with confidence.”

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Source: BBC.com

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