Lateral flow tests

The Government has confirmed that a lateral flow antigen test (LFT) will replace day two PCRs from 24 October.

The lateral flow test.

The change will only apply to fully-vaccinated travellers. Those who are not double jabbed must continue to use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Check with your destination country before travelling.  The antigen test will not be accepted for travel to Hong Kong, Jamaica and Singapore.

In announcing the new government policy Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s rule changes will make testing on arrival simpler and cheaper for people across the country who are looking forward to well-earned breaks for this October half-term.

“Taking away expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a major step forward in normalising international travel and encouraging people to book holidays with confidence”.

Until now the free NHS tests have been available for travel but you must now use one of the Government’s approved private providers. This questions the value of the Chinese-manufactured packages currently available.

Under the current PCR system day two travel tests start at around £45, but often cost £70 per person or even more.  The cost of an LFT tends to be between £20-40. The Government has said day two LFT will be available to book from an approved list of private providers from 22 October. The list will go live on the same date.

Travellers will need to take a photo of their test and booking reference supplied by the private provider and send it back to them to verify the result.

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