Travel update: Expensive PCR tests scrapped for double-vaccinated Britons within weeks

Grant Shapps discusses introduction of 'simpler' travel system

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Testing companies have faced heavy criticism from the public and travel experts for their overpriced tests. The new rules on pre-depature tests will be in place from October 4 while other easing of testing restrictions will follow in later October. 

Grant Shapps said: “We’re making testing easier for travel. From Monday 4 October, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country.

“And from later in October, will be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.”

The date for the replacement of PCR tests with lateral flows tests has not yet been announced.

PCR tests have put many people off travel due to the expensive price, particularly families.

Travel experts have said they hope the new rules on after arrival PCR tests will be in place for October half-term holidays. 

Eight countries have also been removed from the travel red list in the latest update.

Turkey, Oman, Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya and The Maldives have all been removed from the red list.

The amber list has also been scrapped so there is now a single red list and one ‘Rest of World’ list for other destinations.

Travellers returning from red destinations will still need to quarantine in a Government hotel for 11 nights. 

The traffic light system will be overhauled from October 4 with every country not on the red list considered on the ‘Rest of World’ list. 

Fullly vaccinated passengers returning from rest of world destinations will not need to take a pre-departure test from October 4. 

Grant Shapps said: “Now we’ve got so many people vaccinated, perhaps nine out of 10 adults, it does give us some additional freedoms.” 

Travel experts have welcomed the easing of testing rules for double-jabbed passengers. 

Chris Parker, Director of Capacity and Passenger Performance at UK-Europe ferry operator, DFDS, told Express.co.uk: “DFDS welcomes the Government’s announcement that double vaccinated travellers will no longer have to have a PCR test upon return to the UK.

“We expect to see an immediate surge in bookings because this will really simplify travel, especially for day-trips and short breaks.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming our customers back on board.”

But some scientists were worried by the new rules. Denis Kinane, founding scientist of Cignpost test, was concerned about possible new variants being introduced to the UK.

He told Express.co.uk: “I welcome plans to simplify the travel restrictions particularly around the traffic light system.

“But the move to drop gold-standard PCR tests in favour of lateral flow will be a calculated risk that could put Britain at risk of new Covid variants entering the country.

“Currently, Cignpost’s own data shows 4 in every 1,000 people are testing positive after they arrive in the UK, and every one of them had already supposedly recorded a negative lateral flow test while abroad.”

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