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BREAKING: PCR tests scrapped from 24th October for those returning to England

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Grant Shapps announced on Twitter this evening – because that’s where you make important Government announcements – that PCR tests will be scrapped for people returning to England from 24th October.

This will only apply to people who are ‘fully vaccinated’ against coronavirus under the Government definition, covering speficic vaccines and specific countries of vaccination.

The exact wording of the tweet is:

Mandatory PCR tests will be gone in time for October half-term! for vaccinated adults and families seeking some winter sun abroad. From 24 Oct take a cheaper lateral flow test on return, to make travelling easier and simpler for everyone”

PCR tests for your return to the UK to be scrapped from 24th October

The tweet doesn’t answer any key questions:

  • what sort of lateral flow tests will be accepted?
  • will they still need to be pre-ordered before you fly in order for a reference code to be added to your Passenger Locator Form?
  • what happens with children?
  • will they need to be taken in the presence of a medical professional?
  • if not, how will results be submitted?

…. but I’m sure more details will emerge on Friday.

The key thing for now is that you shouldn’t pre-order an expensive PCR ‘Day 2’ test if you are going away for half term, because it won’t be needed.

Comments (72)

  • YC says:

    No mention of what time on the 24th this kicks in. Is it midnight? 4am?

    • Rob says:

      All will become clear I assume. But does it really matter? No-one checks what you put on your PLF form.

      • Let's fly says:

        Not sure encouraging breaking the law if the greatest idea????

        • Rob says:

          We’re not encouraging that. I’m saying that if our man lands at 01.00 on the 24th and the rule changes at 04.00 on the 24th, buying a lateral flow isn’t going to cause any bother.

  • Jody says:

    Can you fill our your PLF form then amend the test number later?

    We go on a cruise on the 22nd October for 2 weeks. Can’t book the new lateral flow tests until the 22nd. There is talk that the cruise company are insisting on seeing a completed PLF with test number at the port before you board.

    Don’t really want to be scrabbling around early in the morning on the 22nd trying to buy a test, as I suspect lots of people will be doing the same, and the PLF might be busy.

    Was wondering if I could use the number from my last test just to show a number on there, then whilst away, purchase a lateral flow test and change the number (we’ve got internet, so no problem doing this).

    Otherwise, it will be an Expert Medicals job again, as they’re the cheapest (will pay on a different credit card to the one I did last time seeing as I did a chargeback request on them for not getting my result).

    • Nick Burch says:

      You can’t fill in a PLF until 48 hours before arrival in the UK, so there’s no way you can fill it in at the start of a 2 week cruise!

      • Jody says:

        Not correct! For cruises, they can be filled in up to 21 days before arrival back in the UK. So if the cruise is shorter than 19 days you do it before, if it’s longer you do it on board.

        There seems to be some confusion as to whether it’s can do if you want to, or must do. And apparently, port staff have been asking to see completed PLF, and refusing boarding until one is filled out. So, whether staff are doing this rightly or wrongly I don’t know, but to avoid hassle it seems to make sense to do the form before we go, but I don’t really want to pay out for a PCR if I can help it. Not trying to cheat the system, I’m happy to purchase the lateral flow tests when they become available. Just slightly annoying that the day they become available coincides with the day we board the ship.

        • Nick Burch says:

          Ah, you’re right! Found this in the guidance

          > If you’re travelling on a cruise that lasts 19 days or less, submit the form in the 48 hours before boarding. If your cruise is longer, you can submit the form while travelling.

          You certainly can update a PLF after submitting it, and are required to if key details change. Maybe submit one with a clearly invalid reference like ZZZZZ0000000 (iirc 5 letters then 7 numbers) and update on/after the 22nd once you’ve booked a cheap suitable Lateral Flow?

          • Jody says:

            Thanks. I wasn’t sure if I could update it, or whether I’d have to fill it all out again.

            I guess the question is, do we actually think the LFT tests WILL be significantly cheaper than PCR, or am I just wasting my time and should pay out for Expert Medicals or somewhere similar?

        • david says:

          As stated time and time again. Nobody is checking these day 2 PCRs. You could put MICK3YMOUS3. Its a great big con. My friend paid 4x day2, did them, returned them. Never received the results, this was in mid August. I bought 3x day 2 pcr back in July. Never even took them, and I am still awaiting police at door.

  • Shaw West says:

    I do have 8 pcr kits I ordered for £6.99 each. will I be able to use them instead of the now “more expensive” lateral tests?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, as long as you have the code for the Passenger Locator Form.

      • Shaw West says:

        I do have the code. 🙂 I had ordered day2 and day8. Now that we have no more day 8, I could reuse the day2 Code for day 8 test 🙂 awesome

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