COVID rules: Fully-vaxxed travellers from Spain to UK can now use cheaper lateral flow tests instead of PCR

NEW rules allowing fully-vaxxed travellers flying into England to take lateral flow tests instead of  PCR tests come into force from Sunday.

Fully-vaccinated people arriving from non-red list countries such as Spain, can now use the cheaper lateral flow test on day two after their arrival in England, in changes introduced at 4am on October 24, just in time for the half-term holiday.

Wales is due to introduce the same change a week later, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have indicated they may follow suit.

The lateral flow tests for returning travellers must be bought from private providers and the government website has published a list of approved companies where prices start at £19.

The rules still state that passengers must book tests before travelling to the UK and include the code on the Passenger Locator Form that must be filled out within 48 hours prior to departure.

But travellers are now required to send a picture of their lateral flow test to verify the result, and failure to do so could result in a fine of £1,000.

The change also applies to those under the age of 18 whether or not they are vaccinated.

Only children aged four and under do not need to take the test.

The Department of Health said that anyone who tested positive would have to take a PCR test, which they could get free through the NHS.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I’m delighted that from today eligible travellers to England, who have had the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine, can benefit from a cheaper lateral flow test, providing faster results.

“This huge boost to the travel industry and the public will make it easier and cheaper for people to book holidays and travel abroad.”

The British government relaxed rules for fully vaccinated travellers from any non-red list country from October 4, removing the need to show a negative COVID test prior to travel .

But anyone aged 18 or over who are not fully vaccinated are still required to self-isolate for 10 days after arrival in the UK.


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