Travellers Told They Can Pay For COVID Tests to Cut Quarantine Down to Five Days

TRAVELLERS Told They Can Pay For COVID Tests to Cut Quarantine Down to Five Days.

Travellers to England will be allowed to exit quarantine after five days if they pay for a test for coronavirus and it comes back negative, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced. Under the new rules, which come into force from December 15, passengers who arrive from a destination not on the Government’s safe travel corridors list will still need to enter self-isolation.

But now they can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm after five days at a cost of between £65-£120. The travel industry welcomed the policy but described it as “long overdue” after months of lobbying ministers to change restrictions. Results from the tests will normally be issued in 24 to 48 hours, meaning people could be released from quarantine six days after arrival.

Mr Shapps 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 international travel while keeping the public safe. Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business. 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.”

Chief executive of Airlines UK, Tim Alderslade, said the announcement provided “light at the end of the tunnel” for the aviation industry and people wanting to go on holiday. A list of permitted testing providers will be published by the Department for Transport next month.

Last night Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the list of approved providers will include firms offering rapid tests which produce results in as little as 30 minutes. NHS-style PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests take between 24 and 48 hours to produce a result, but travel bosses lobbied ministers to approve the quicker tests.

In a further boost for the crippled aviation industry, Mr Shapps has promised a new package of financial support capped at £8million per airport.

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Tony Winterburn

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