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Sunday, October 24, 2021

England to ease testing requirements for travelers

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The U.K. government announced plans to replace the requirement for travelers arriving in England to have a PCR coronavirus test and instead permit cheaper lateral flow tests, significantly reducing the cost of travel.

Currently, fully-vaccinated travelers arriving in the U.K. from countries not listed on Britain’s red list must take a PCR test to prove they don’t have COVID-19. These tests take time as they have to be sent away to a lab and they can cost as much as £75 per person.

Under the new rules, which will come into force in late October, travelers will first take a lateral flow test and only be required to get a PCR if that quicker test is positive.

“The travel industry, which has been into this crisis first [and] out last, in many ways has suffered hugely — that’s a lot of jobs on the line,” U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News on Friday. The secretary of state hopes the new rules will encourage families to plan holidays as lateral flow tests are  “much easier, much less expensive as well.”

“You will need to make sure you have got a lateral flow test booked and you will put the reference number on your passenger locator form before you come home,” Shapps said.

The travel industry has pushed for change to the policy, complaining that the PCR tests were putting people off flying to non-red list countries.

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