Changes in regulations in England would suggest PCR Covid tests being substituted by cheaper lateral flow ones

Grant Shapps, the UK transport secretary, mentioned that he desires to cancel the expensive PCR tests for international travellers coming back to England in time for the October half-term holiday, in order to give boost to airlines and the broader industry.

The PCR tests, which is roughly around £75 each on average, would be substituted by inexpensive lateral flow tests. The move to make travel easier follows the UK government statement on Thursday that the number of countries on the “red list”, which have the most robust restrictions, is to be decreased to only seven.

Talking about plans for a shift in policy on testing, Grant Shapps mentioned: “We desire to get this done for half-term for travellers.

“When it comes to the safety phase, we are still needing a test,” Shapps confirmed. “But we are going to shift that down from being a PCR one, a costly one that you have to send away to a laboratory, to a lateral flow test, so that will assist and allow us to screen things. We expect having it ready for the half-term. What a difference it will make for travellers.”

In spite of rising numbers of positive Covid-19 cases, Shapps stated that the UK government had assurance in reducing the level of tests for foreign travel due to the vaccination programme.

“And, encouragingly, if you come back from where you do a lateral flow and you get a positive result, then you will be able to get a free NHS PCR test in the usual way and you will be back in the normal system. The big change now is we are vaccinated,” he said. “That makes the change here. It will be much stress-free and much inexpensive.”

The shift to simplify testing comes after the UK government gave the travel industry an uplift by stating that the number of countries on the red list, with the strictest restrictions including 10 days of quarantine, would be reduced from 54 to 7.

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