British families will save hundreds of pounds on foreign holidays as photos of lateral flow tests replace more expensive personal PCR tests, possibly within half the time.
The cost of a family holiday will drop by around £ 200 when PCR tests costing around £ 75 each are dropped in favor of the cheaper tests costing as little as £ 25.
Travelers must send a photo of their negative result two days after arrival in the UK.
It happened when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that 47 countries, including South Africa, Mexico and Thailand, would be removed from England’s red list on Monday.
Travelers arriving from these destinations no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £ 2,285 for solo travelers.
Only seven countries remain on the red list after the changes.
They are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
The separate administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own travel rules, but have recently reflected announcements from Westminster.
Mr Shapps said: “With the mid-summer and winter suns around the corner, we are making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite by significantly reducing the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to increased vaccination efforts around the globe.
“Restoring people’s confidence in travel is the key to rebuilding our economy and leveling this country. With fewer restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move safely forward along our path to recovery. ”
Shapps also announced that the government would recognize vaccines for arrivals from a further 37 countries and territories, including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.
The decision means that fully vaccinated people entering England from these locations will be exempted from quarantine, the test before departure and the test eight after arrival.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said: “Our robust border measures have helped protect the phenomenal progress of our vaccination program, and it is because of this success both here and around the world that we can safely open journeys further and we can visit friends. and family abroad.
“We are now making it easier and cheaper for people to travel by allowing fully vaccinated travelers from non-Red List countries to use lateral flow tests on arrival day two, as long as they provide proof of use.”
No date has been set for when eligible fully vaccinated arrivals will be able to use a lateral flow test for their day-to-day test rather than the more expensive PCR version.
The government said its “ambition” is that this should be in place “for people returning from half-time breaks before the end of the month”.
Travelers will be able to verify that they have completed a lateral flow test by submitting a photograph.
British Airways announced that it will resume services and increase frequencies to a number of winter solar destinations removed from the red list, e.g. Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; Mexico City and Cancun, Mexico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The airline’s CEO Sean Doyle said: “It finally feels like we’re seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel.
“Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries, and now is the time to turn our attention to eradicating tests for fully vaccinated travelers to ensure we do not lose our place on the global stage.”
Charlie Cornish, head of the Manchester Airports Group – which owns airports in Manchester, Stansted and the East Midlands – said: “Removing so many countries from the red list gives people the most choice they have had since before the pandemic, which will help stimulate recovery. of the UK’s valued aviation sector. ”
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consulting firm The PC Agency, said: “It’s been a long time, but finally we see the layers of complexity peeling away.”
Recent analysis by the PA news agency found that there have been more than 50 changes to the rules of international travel during the coronavirus pandemic.