The UK government’s pre-departure Covid-19 testing scheme was due to come into force today (Friday, 15 January), requiring those arriving in the UK by plane, train, or boat to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken less than 72 hours before departure.
However, the new requirement has been pushed back until Monday 18 January as the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, took to Twitter to announce that travellers needed more time to prepare. This followed concerns that the government had not detailed which types of Covid tests would be accepted.
Mr Shapps tweet read: “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.”
It is rumoured that the Scottish government is also preparing to defer the new rules from coming into effect until Monday.
It was also later confirmed that the government would accept all forms of PCR tests, as well as tests with a “97% specificity, 80% sensitivity”.
However, problems with testing capacity in some countries have meant that those arriving in the UK from certain destinations, including St Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, and Barbuda will be exempt from providing a Covid test until 4am on 21 January.
Additionally, passengers from the Falkland Islands, Ascension Islands, and St Helena are thought to be exempted permanently.
Of course, while the UK travel ban remains in place Brits should not be travelling abroad unless for legally permitted reasons, such as essential work purposes. And it is important to note that the majority of travel insurance policy will not cover those who choose to travel against government advice.
Those who must travel will still be required to isolate for 10 days upon their return if they have visited a country that is not included on the UK’s travel corridor list.
We previously went into a lot more detail around passengers exempt from providing a PCR test, who will be checking the test certificates, what happens if you fail to provide a test, and lastly what cover to look out for in your policy should you receive a positive PCR result. You can find all of this useful information all here.