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UK to reintroduce pre-departure Covid-19 testing

UK to reintroduce pre-departure Covid-19 testing

The government has confirmed all UK arrivals must once again show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow test before they will be permitted entry.

The test must be taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure and applies to vaccinated passengers and children aged 12 and above.

Officials said the changes come in light of concerns over the spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The new rules will come into effect at 04:00 on Tuesday.

Airlines will be required to check for pre-departure tests alongside a completed passenger locator form, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result.


Given the reduced incubation period of the Omicron variant, passengers are advised to take the pre-departure test as close as possible to their scheduled departure to the UK and no earlier than 48 hours before travelling, a statement said/

Prime minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed the temporary measures will be reviewed after three weeks to ensure that they remain necessary and proportionate.

Secretary of state for health and social care, Sajid Javid, said: “We knew this winter would be challenging but the arrival of a new variant means we must further strengthen our defences.

“I urge everyone to do their bit to slow the spread by following the new travel rules, wearing masks where mandatory and most importantly getting the booster jab when called.”

The travel industry was quick to condemn the move.

An ABTA spokesperson said: “The re-introduction of pre-departure tests will be a huge blow to travellers and an already devastated travel industry, which has been the hardest hit sector throughout the crisis, and which is now fast approaching the key booking season for next summer.

“Travellers must also be supported with measures taken to offset the cost of these additional tests by reducing the cost of PCR testing - including a price cap and the removal of VAT.

“It’s vitally important this decision is reversed as quickly as possible, in line with scientific and medical advice, as it is simply not possible for the travel industry to recover properly while this huge barrier to consumer confidence is in place.“