Cheaper lateral flow tests replace PCRs for holidaymakers in 'huge boost' for travel

24 October 2021, 00:02 | Updated: 24 October 2021, 22:18

Lateral flow tests will replace PCR for arrivals in the UK
Lateral flow tests will replace PCR for arrivals in the UK. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Lateral flow tests have been introduced for holidaymakers in what the Government has hailed a "huge boost" for the travel industry.

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Under the relaxed rules - introduced in time for the school holidays - fully vaccinated people arriving in England from a non-red list country will be able to use a lateral flow test rather than the more expensive PCR version on or before day two.

Passengers will have to send a photo of their test results to their provider, with those failing to send proof risking a fine of £1,000, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.

Those who test positive will need to take a free NHS PCR test to verify the result and isolate.

However, lateral flow tests for international travel must be purchased from a private provider as NHS Test and Trace lateral flow tests cannot be used.

Bookings for the tests first opened on Friday, with a list of 25 providers available on GOV.UK.

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Read more: Which countries are on the red list and when will PCR tests end?

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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.

"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 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."

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."

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.