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.
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.