New rules allowing travellers returning to England to take lateral flow travel tests instead of more expensive PCR tests will come into effect on 24 October.
According to the government, the change on travel tests will take effect in time for families returning from half-term breaks.
In line with the new rule, fully vaccinated travellers will be asked to upload pictures of their Covid-19 travel tests for verification.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said this would make travel much easier and simpler for travellers.
Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “This is great news, and we’re pleased to get it over the line in time for the crucial half term period, which will be a massive relief to families desperate to get away this autumn.”
He continued to comment on last week’s reduction of the travel red list and the recognition of vaccinations administered in foreign countries, saying it is “a major step forward that will support the desperately needed recovery of our sector”.
Much of the travel industry’s experts had said it was vital to make changes to the covid travel tests in time for half-term holidays.
However, some have expressed distaste for the time this change comes at – as the UK continues to record the highest level of Covid-19 cases and deaths in western Europe.
On Thursday, 45,066 cases and 157 deaths were recorded.
Wales has criticised the plan of replacing PCR tests, also known as the gold standard for Covid-19 testing, with lateral flow tests, bringing up concerns about how relaxed measures could possibly increase the risk of new variants coming into the country.
Under the current system, PCR tests taken on day two after returning to England can cost about 75 pounds per person.
Once the new rule comes into force, travellers who test positive from their lateral flow test will be required to self-isolate and take a free PCR test to confirm it.
Travellers will be able to order their lateral flow tests from 22 October, when a list of approved providers will be published on the gov.uk website.
NHS Test and Trace tests – which can be ordered for free – cannot be used for international travel, the government said.
Mr Shapps said: “Taking away expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a major step forward in normalising international travel and encouraging people to book holidays with confidence.”
What are your thoughts on the new rule on travel tests? Leave them in the comments below!