- Cabinet source says ‘real chance’ PCR test will be for half-hearted holidaymakers
- This move will be a big blow to the holidaymakers and the travel industry
- The government had earlier said that PCR tests would be replaced by lateral flow
- Separately, Sajid Javid was asked to propose a video call for those who test
Families may still be forced to spend £75 on PCR tests when returning from holidays in this half-period, it was claimed today.
Day two return swabs should have been phased out at the end of the month in favor of cheaper and faster lateral flow tests for complete vaccination.
While the government says its ‘target’ is to be on time for half the term, a cabinet source said that ministers were urged to keep the PCR as they feared variants.
The move will come as a major blow to millions of vacationers and the beleaguered travel industry, which will aim to make up for the damage caused by the pandemic during the half term.
“There is a very real possibility that a PCR will have to be taken even after a half-hour break,” the source told The Sun. Hitting out at Health Secretary Sajid Javid, he said: ‘Those who claim to be great unlockers have been quickly caught by the health authorities.’
But officials from the Department of Transport categorically told MailOnline today that it will replace the day’s two PCR tests with lateral flow by the end of October.
Mr Javid had yesterday doubled down on his commitment to contain as many remaining COVID cases as possible.
On his 100th day in the job, he told the Tory convention in Manchester that his party stood to ‘liberate’ rather than shut things down.
But Mr Javid is said to be concerned that relying on lateral flow tests – which, unlike PCR, do not need to be verified in a laboratory – could encourage lying about positive results.
According to reports, they have floated the idea of taking rapid tests of people over a video call under the supervision of a health professional.
British holidaymakers leaving Ibiza airport. The government has said returning travelers will no longer need to pay for PCR tests once in the UK, and will instead have a cheaper lateral flow test. However, a cabinet source told The Sun PCR tests would still have to be taken ‘even after a half-period holiday’ due to fears of new variants.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who was said to have lied about the test results, proposed returning passengers conduct their lateral flow tests over a video call under the supervision of a health consultant from a private firm.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘From the end of October, eligible fully vaccinated travelers from non-red countries will be able to replace their second day test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests upon arrival in England .’
On Monday, new rules were introduced to make UK travel ‘easier and cheaper’, including dismantling the travel light system and changing it by classifying countries as either go or no-go.
Even Britons who have been fully vaccinated before going back to the UK no longer have to be tested.
The government has committed to completely discontinue lateral flow of day two PCR tests by the end of October.
Elsewhere, there was speculation among travel industry leaders that PCR tests would be phased out for a cheaper alternative around October 25 – the start of half a term for many families.
Meanwhile, Sajid Javid wants the vacationers to film themselves taking a coronavirus test after returning to the UK, it was reported last night.
The health secretary is said to be concerned that when lateral flow becomes the default, test takers may lie about the result.
He is proposing to conduct lateral flow testing of passengers over video call under the supervision of a health consultant of a private firm, many times informed of.
This is similar to how some of the pre-departure tests that were canceled last weekend were conducted.
No date has been set for the change, but there is speculation among travel industry leaders that it will happen around October 25, the start of half term for many families.
A man holds a negative lateral flow COVID-19 test in front of a UK passport (file picture)
New rules introduced to make travel to the UK “easier and cheaper” went into effect on Monday.
The UK traffic light system with green, amber and red lists was abolished, with places classified as being on the red list or not.
It comes amid reports that the number of countries on the Red List will be reduced from 54 to nine by the end of this week.
Destinations such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa are expected to be opened to quarantine-free travel.
Fully vaccinated residents from over 50 countries and territories – and unvaccinated under the age of 18 – can now enter the UK without needing to complete a pre-departure lateral flow test.
Now only a day-two test will be required after arrival. Those under 11 were already exempted from pre-departure testing.
Those arriving from Red Tier destinations will still be required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel costing £2,285 for solo travellers.
The easing of quarantine and testing rules – announced last month – has been welcomed by the travel sector.
Airlines and tour operators have been hit hard during the pandemic, and have accused the government of being too slow to relax and simplify rules for international travel.
Britain’s current Red List of 54 countries and territories
The UK government’s ‘Red List’ of 54 countries has been reduced to just nine. These are the countries that are currently on the Red List:
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Trinidad and Tobago