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UK introduces pre-departure Covid tests from Tuesday 7th

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The Government has announced this evening that pre-departure tests will be required for anyone landing in the UK after 4am on Tuesday for anyone travelling to the UK.

This is despite Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, telling The Daily Telegraph on Thursday that it wouldn’t happen, and that it would be ‘killing off the travel sector’.

A family of four will now be looking at £500 of testing purely to return to the UK – a lateral flow or PCR test before the flight and a PCR test after the flight – on top of any testing required by the country you are visiting. The cost could easily top £750 for a family.

The official wording is here.

Testing applies to arrivals aged 12 and over, with limited exceptions.

The test must be taken in the two days before departure. If you fly to the UK on a Wednesday, the test must be taken on Monday or Tuesday.

A lateral flow or PCR test is acceptable, as long as an acceptable certificate can be produced.

We reviewed the Qured video testing system here and I used it myself when returning from Spain in the Summer. It was an efficient system but clearly needs a degree of forward planning – anyone abroad now and returning to the UK on Tuesday will need to source a test locally.

The British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said in a statement:

“The blanket re-introduction of testing to enter the UK, on top of the current regime of isolation and PCR testing on arrival is completely out of step with the rest of the world, with every other country taking a measured approach based on the science. Our customers will now be faced with uncertainty and chaos and yet again this a devasting blow for everyone who works in the travel industry.”

In a separate move, Nigeria will be added to the 10 Southern African countries on the ‘Red List’ from 4am on Monday. This will be a blow to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, for whom Lagos is one of their most profitable routes.

Comments (375)

  • Murray says:

    This is utterly ridiculous. Does anyone know if this measure is just temporary and due for review the week before Christmas? I don’t know what to do now about our family of 5’s trip at Christmas.

    • JDB says:

      This has come about owing to non stop pressure from the opposition. There is no way it will be lifted in the near future.

      • Geoff 1977 says:

        Yes. New normal

      • Dave says:

        They don’t normally listen to the opposition!

        • Nick says:

          They have to when they know they’re taking such a massive gamble not closing down over the new variant. Yes it might be a weak one… but equally it might not be. Leaving the door open to “we told you so” is – on balance – less palatable than a few holidays made more expensive.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Plus easier to impose further restrictions domestically in the coming days/weeks once the dirty foreigners and irresponsible holiday makers are taken care of. “some of the toughest border testing requirements in the world”….

          • Track says:

            It is economically damaging to the country much dependent on inflow of capital and selling services outwards, as a means to support its balance of payments.

      • Kipto says:

        The SNP and Comrade Drakeford wanted everyone entering the UK to quarantine for eight days !!

        • meta says:

          Sky News reports that the Sajid said measure is temporary and that they want to remove it as soon as possible.

        • J says:

          Under these rules, I imagine it’s likely most will be contacted by track and trace a couple of days after their flight and have to do the full isolation anyway.

      • Lady London says:

        We might think the Tories have lost their way, I *shudder* to think how much worse the other lot would make it…or just have.

        I’d be happy with this if the data showed it was advisable.

        • Blenz101 says:

          It’s a one way bet for the other lot, whatever the government does they can call for them to go further. If cases rise they can say “we told you so” and pin the blame on the gov, if they don’t rise then they get no spotlight anyway or at worst can say they helped prevent any rise by forcing the government to take action.

          It’s a shame by now there isn’t by now some kind of cross party committee to make rapid recommendations that all parties can get behind and remove the politics from the process and focus on the data.

          • MrHandBaggageOnly says:

            Quite. We should all be asking why a cross party committee was not set up at least 18 months ago, to take away the politics. Sadly, neither of the two big parties have an ounce of sense between them.

        • Novelty-Socks says:

          Did they ever have any idea which way they were meant to be heading?

          If “making it up as I go along” applies to any politician, surely it applies to Boris!

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          You think Boris et al are following data?

  • Sam says:

    Whilst people are moaning about how much more they now need to spend on holidays my hope is just not having tier 4 2.0. I am not going abroad this Christmas and I just want to see my family friends.

    • Rui N. says:

      Lots of people need to go abroad to see their family and friends for Christmas.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Comparatively, very few need (by which you mean want) to go aboard to see family. The vast majority of the population do not.

    • Andrew says:

      And lots of people are having friends and relatives visit the U.K. this Christmas after not being able to last year. So whilst yours all might live in this country, not everyone is the same Sam.

    • Harry T says:

      This won’t do anything to prevent National measures if omicron turns out to be the real deal – we already have evidence of community transmission in the UK.

      • Geoff 1977 says:

        It wont become dominant (if it is more transmissible) until next year, so Christmas is safe

  • Triath5 says:

    Any idea when the official announcement will be taking place (rather than this BS ambiguous leak through Javid’s twitter with platitudes)? I need to confirm whether LFT or PCR is required, and don’t want to shell out on a PCR if not needed.

    My gut feel is that it will be either Antigen or PCR as per summer, but you never really know with this government do you…

    • Geoff 1977 says:

      The official announcement has already happened. The detail on tests is on the websites of news outlets

      • Danny says:

        Could you name one of those news outlets? I’ve checked several major ones and they all give the same vague info – not nearly enough to make optimal arrangements yet for those already abroad.

        • Geoff 1977 says:

          “ People will need to submit evidence of a negative lateral flow or PCR test taken within 48 hours of travelling.”

          BBC News is one example.

          Happy to help.

          • Keely says:

            I’m with Danny on this …doesn’t give enough info ….is this everyone including children? Is this supervised or not etc. ? Does the 4am mean landing after or departing after? Due to land at 6.30 but will have departed 9 hours before…

    • CombatJohnny says:

      I’m going away wednesday and have just booked an Antigen. We have to have a pcr when we get back anyway so a PCR before flying too would be rather OTT

  • Nathan says:

    If this continues I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere in the world a government official ends up being assassinated.

    • Nick says:

      You’re threatening murder over a few tests?!

    • Geoff 1977 says:

      Wouldn’t have thought so. There’ll just be a lot of people getting very angry on the internet, like the comments on here for example

    • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

      Please remove this idiots comment

      • Nathan says:

        I was referring to the whole covid situation globally not about testing for travel.There have been riots on the streets and people are becoming increasingly angry.

        • Geoff 1977 says:

          They should chill out and smoke a spliff or something rather than getting angry. Not good for blood pressure

          • Nathan says:

            I agree and I think the people rioting are idiots I am simply saying that if all these restrictions continue then someplace someone will probably end up doing something very stupid.

          • Geoff 1977 says:

            “ someone will probably end up doing something very stupid”

            People do stupid things every day in many places in the world. It’s nothing new. You only have to look at the number of mass shootings that take place in “normal” times in America for example

      • Tariq says:

        😂 feeling under threat are you?

  • GeorgeJ says:

    Its a bit of a nuisance having it supervised but its not going to make me change plans. I always take a test before travelling anyway, no sense in getting on a plane with Covid, stay put and isolate.

    • Andrew says:

      We don’t know that it will require supervision – it didn’t during the summer, just authenticated with a photo of your LFT.

  • Greenpen says:

    There has been a worldwide reaction to the emergence of omicron in all sorts of ways. Is there something known about this mutation that we’re not being told about?

    • His Holyness says:

      There has to be a good reason to persuade the perfectly healthy (especially young people and children) or their parents to take the marvellous vaccines.

      You only have to look at the vaccine passport rules in many countries that have taken the right to visit stores/amenities if you have a negative test to now only be for the vaccinated. Meanwhile, like this article, they’re telling us how the vaccine is not enough to prevent transmission and you need to be tested.

    • Roberto says:

      No people just don’t understand yet that covid is being used to kill the travel industry.
      It no longer fits the new green climate agenda to have the working class flying around the world on cheap air tickets so any excuse will do.
      This crap is here to stay until they have changed people’s behaviour and nudged them into accepting a new normal.

  • Jack Hodgson says:

    Is there any point in being vaccinated now since we still cannot travel without having to buy tests that are not checked whatsoever for a country that has over 90% of people with antibodies ? it is a joke now no way will i pay for countless tests to travel and i doubt few will it is a joke now

    • Andrew says:

      Many countries won’t let you in if you’re not vaccinated, or require an even more thorough test package, and many countries or states require vaccination to go to indoor venues. So yes, there’s still a point to being vaccinated.

      • Geoff 1977 says:

        Pretty obvious stuff really isn’t it Andrew? Not sure why Hodgie asked such a question

    • The Canuck says:

      Maybe to protect yourself??

      • Brian says:

        Wait, what? I thought we kept on being told it was to protect others! Isn’t that the point of the vaccine passports that are so popular nowadays?

        • Geoff 1977 says:

          It does protect others because you’re less likely to unnecessarily be clogging up a hospital bed which means someone else more deserving could use it. Pretty obvious stuff really m8.

          • Brian says:

            Presumably you never take a car journey unless strictly necessary, to avoid the risk of accident and thereby clogging up a hospital bed and stopping more deserving people having it? And you don’t smoke or eat meat, in case you get cancer and clog up a bed later? And you definitely don’t ski or do any risky activities, right? I guess that’s pretty obvious too, m8.

    • Freddy says:

      Nah I wouldn’t bother Jack, no benefit whatsoever in getting jabbed. I’m gonna do a chargeback as the jab was mis sold to me

      • Rui N. says:

        Didn’t even get any Amex points from it!

      • His Holyness says:

        Wait, is anyone without the jab still alive? How’s that possible? Are they related to me in some way?

    • Alan says:

      Ermm well the point would be to not end up massively unwell with COVID. As has happened to a couple of unvaccinated 30yos we’ve had in ICU recently. Obviously most people are totally fine if they get COVID but some aren’t and it’s not all just pre existing conditions.

      • Geoff 1977 says:

        Haven’t you heard Alan, its all a big conspiracy!

        Microchips and Bill Gates and snake oil!

        • His Holyness says:

          Two years on, if you’re unvax, going about your life and not been in ICU, I think you might be Jesus or the Prophet (PBUH). At the very least you deserve a medical study so we can clone you…or maybe you’re like Johnny Knoxville, totally suicidal to resist the marvellous vax and it’s many boosters!

      • Brian says:

        Only a couple? I thought they were supposed to all be young unjabbed people in ICU now…

  • Keely says:

    Due to land back at Tues 6am – will have boarded in Jamaica on Monday at 16-50 so 9-50pm UK time – presume I’ve dodged this bullet?

    • Danny says:

      We don’t know yet. Maybe. Or it could be for all arrivals from Tues 4am so you may be exactly in the bullet’s path

    • Bagoly says:

      Almost certainly it is 04:00 arrival – the time is chosen to be before any flights arrive that day, but after any delayed from the previous day.

      • Polly says:

        Hope not, it definitely states, depart7after 04.00…that’s how we have interpreted it, anyhow. And BA not asked us for any pre departure test. Just spoke to You First.

        Keely, hope we have got it right!

    • Polly says:

      Yes you have

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