It is speculated that PCR tests required for arrivals into the UK could be dropped for fully vaccinated passengers at a major shake up of the travel rules in October.
Inews reports that Sajid Javid has said he wants to scrap PCR tests for travellers “as soon as I possibly can” amid reports that it could happen before the school half-term holiday in October.
Ministers are working to drop the PCR requirement for green and amber list countries ahead of a major shake up of the travel rules for Britons expected by October 1, the Mail on Sunday reports.
At the same time as an announcement on PCR tests, it is predicted that the three-tier traffic light system for travel may be scrapped and replaced to make it easier for fully vaccinated people to travel.
Reports suggest that PCR tests currently required on the second day of arrival at an average cost of around £70 will be dropped in favour of lateral flow tests which are currently free.
This move would be welcomed by holidaymakers and industry leaders who have criticised the prohibitively high cost of PCR tests. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News he was aware of the high cost of travel for families due to PCR testing and said the rule should not be in place “for a second longer than is absolutely necessary”.
He said: “I’m not going to make that decision right now, but I’ve already asked the officials that the moment we can, let’s get rid of
these kinds of intrusions.”
The UK has one of the highest Covid infection rates among European nations as well as the most stringent travel rules. Some European countries, including Germany and France, already do not require a PCR test on arrival though may ask for proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
What is expected to change?
Croatia, Israel and Jerusalem and Barbados are among the countries at risk of moving from green to amber. Turkey, the Seychelles and Thailand – currently on the red list – could go amber. In addition, the traffic light system will be reviewed before the 1 October checkpoint date when the government will assess the system.
Reports suggest the three-tier system will be replaced with two travel lists, with amber and green categories merging into one “safe to travel” list. Arrivals from red destinations must still quarantine in hotels but the red list – currently 62 countries – will be significantly reduced.
The changes could also stop PCR testing companies from exploiting travellers with high prices and delayed tests and results. It is as yet unclear how the changes would impact those who are not double-jabbed.
What are the current rules?
Currently, fully vaccinated passengers arriving to the UK from green and amber list countries must take a Covid test before flying to the UK and within two days of entering the country. If the results are negative, there is no need to isolate.
Those not fully vaccinated must take one test when arriving from a green country, two from amber destinations along with spending up to ten days in isolation.
The red category requires all arrivals to self-isolate at a Government-approved quarantine hotel for 10 days.
(Story source: Inews)