England to introduce coronavirus testing for worldwide travelers

Cheryl Sanders
November 24, 2020

These rules were subsequently relaxed for those arriving in England from approved destinations, but this list changes weekly and travelers from countries that aren't considered "green" have been required to keep to the two-week quarantine.

If the test comes back negative, they will then be permitted to end their self-isolation period.

From 15 December, worldwide arrivals from countries not on the government's travel corridor list will have the option to take a Covid-19 test after five days of self-isolation, which must be booked through a private provider. With most tests now taking 24 to 48 hours to return a result, the quarantine period is more likely to be slightly longer in practice. "By giving people the choice to test on day five, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic", Shapps said.

He said: "We have a plan in place to ensure that our route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster worldwide travel while keeping the public safe".

The Conservative government has taken countries off its safe list at very short notice, prompting many travelers to cut vacations short to Spain and France this summer and quickly return to the U.K.to avoid mandatory quarantines.

Johnson added that the central government is working with the semi autonomic authorities of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which have their own plans to tackle the pandemic, to come up with a plan for Christmas.

The "test and release" scheme requires passengers arriving in England by plane, ferry or train to book and pay for the test themselves.

The tests from private firms will cost between 65 pounds (about 86.66 US dollars) and 120 pounds (about 160 USA dollars), said the BBC. The change to the quarantine rules, which was announced today and comes into force on December 15, has been long-awaited by the travel industry, one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic.

Airlines have welcomed the announcement but are still pushing for a pre-departure testing regime to be introduced. Heathrow has a departure testing center ready for this (but is now in use only for Hong Kong departures).

The UK government has chosen to follow other countries in opting for delayed testing instead, citing examples of its use in Iceland and Germany. "But there is now light at the end of the tunnel".

The decision to relax the rule comes amid evidence that new coronavirus infections have fallen since restrictions were tightened in the past few weeks, including a national lockdown in England that is due to end on December 2. It will be replaced by a three-tier regional system. Still, with a maze of travel and quarantine restrictions around the world, few industry experts anticipate a rapid rush for the skies before vaccinations become widely available.

It remains unclear what the rules will be for England residents wanting to travel overseas, though. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Other reports by iNewsToday