Britons to save hundreds on half-term holiday with new Covid test rule – how it works

Grant Shapps warns travellers to hold off on booking travel tests

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Families travelling overseas for the half-term holidays will save hundreds as Covid testing requirements are changing from next week.

Costly PCR tests will no longer be needed when returning to the UK from overseas, following a new change on Covid testing.

The lateral flow test will replace the expensive PCRs from Friday October 24.

The new rule will apply to most travellers returning to the UK.

This includes children and fully vaccinated adults.

The new Covid testing change will see families saving hundreds of pounds, especially during the upcoming half-term holidays.

However, all travellers returning from red list countries still have to self-isolate in a hotel at their own cost.

Currently, the cost of a hotel quarantine is £2,285.

Ministers have been working with testing companies to make sure there will be enough tests for the increased demand.

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From October 24, holidaymakers will be able to take a lateral flow test at home but will need to take a picture of their test and send it online to prove the result. Tests will be available to book from October 22. 

This new and more relaxed measure comes after it has been found lateral flow tests are more accurate than what was previously thought.

Researchers from the University College London explained lateral flow tests are very effective at detecting the people most likely to spread COVID- 19.

They claimed lateral flow tests results are accurate and should be trusted.

The home test has been highly criticised as it was believed it was less reliable than laboratory analysed PCRs.

UCL explained if travellers get positive lateral flow results, they “should trust them and stay at home”.

Government travel advice announced last week: “From late October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers including under 18s returning from a rest of world country will have the option to replace their day two test with a cheaper lateral flow test, followed by a free PCR test if positive, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.”

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, explained: “We want to make going abroad easier and cheaper, whether you’re travelling for work or visiting friends and family. Lateral flow tests will be available later this month for those returning from half term holidays.

“This change to testing is only possible thanks to the incredible progress of our vaccination programme, which means we can safely open up travel as we learn to live with the virus.”

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said: “With half-term and winter sun around the corner, we’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe.

“Restoring people’s confidence in travel is key to rebuilding our economy and levelling up this country.”

The Government statement said: “The Government can also confirm passengers taking postal tests will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify the test result, with the ambition remaining to have this in place for people returning from half-term breaks by the end of the month.”

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