New Covid test rules for UK arrivals delayed ‘to give passengers more time’

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New regulations forcing travellers arriving in England to possess a negative coronavirus test have been delayed “to give international arrivals time to prepare”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last week announced passengers arriving in England by boat, train or plane – including UK nationals – should have a negative Covid test taken up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure.

This was due to come into force at 4am on Friday, but the regulations has now been moved to the same time on Monday.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Shapps said: To give international arrivals time to prepare passengers will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure to England from MONDAY 18 JANUARY at 4am.”

Travellers will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals.

Anyone avoiding the rules will face a minimum £500 fine, while the operator who transported them will also be fined. Passengers will still have to quarantine for 10 days regardless of their test results.

Tests must be internationally approved and guidance released by the Department for Transport said they could include PCR tests, nasal and throat swab tests which take between 12 and 24 hours to return results.

Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests, which can return results in two to three hours, and lateral flow tests which generate results in less than 30 minutes are also acceptable.

Results can be produced as physical documents or by email or text, but must be in English, French or Spanish.

Scotland is also set to adopt the same approach to international travellers, while Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to announce their own plans for pre-arrival testing in the coming days.



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