Cheaper Covid tests could be used as PM aims to make travel 'easy as possible'

6 April 2021, 17:21

Lateral flow tests could be used as part of the requirements to go on a foreign holiday.
Lateral flow tests could be used as part of the requirements to go on a foreign holiday. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Cheaper tests could be introduced for people looking to go on holiday abroad, Boris Johnson has said.

The Prime Minister pledged to examine how to make travel less expensive, with countries set to demand negative tests or proof of vaccination as a condition of entry.

His remarks followed the intervention of aviation leaders, including easyJet boss Johan Lundgren, who called for lateral flow tests to be accepted by the UK.

The Government announced on Monday that arrivals will be required to take tests pre-departure and post-arrival as part of the new traffic light system.

The rapid lateral flow tests are cheaper than alternatives like the "gold standard" PCR test but studies have found their effectiveness could vary depending on the training of the person taking the sample.

Read more: What is the new traffic light system for holidays abroad?

Boris Johnson told reporters: "I do think we want to make things as easy as we possibly can.

"The boss of easyJet is right to focus on this issue. We're going to see what we can do to make things as flexible and as affordable as possible."

He added: "I do want to see international travel start up again. We have to be realistic.

"A lot of the destinations that we want to go to at the moment are suffering a new wave of the illness, of Covid, as we know."

Read more: PM updates nation on foreign travel, covid passports and latest lockdown easing

A Government paper published on Monday said it is unknown if foreign holidays will be allowed from May 17, the earliest it could resume under Mr Johnson's road map out of lockdown.

Travel abroad is largely banned without a valid reason as the Government looks to prevent new Covid cases and variants, which could reduce vaccine effectiveness, from being imported.

"We can't do it immediately, but that doesn't mean that we've given up on May 17," Mr Johnson said.

"We will be saying as much as we can, as soon as we can, about international travel.

"I know how impatient people are to book their holidays if they possibly can but I think we just have to be prudent at this stage."