Travellers to England, Scotland will need negative Covid tests

Daniel Fowler
January 20, 2021

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he had talked to officials in Wales and Northern Ireland, which also set health and transport policy there, and said they would also likely implement the rule.

The test will need to be taken up to 72 hours before their departure and failure to comply will result in an immediate fine of 500 pounds, 678 dollar, Xinhua news agency quoted a government statement as saying on Friday.

"We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions", Shapps said.

The UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrival into England to ensure that passengers are fully compliant, the government said, adding that the test could be either in the form of PCR tests or lateral flow tests now available to detect coronavirus but that further details will be laid out in the coming days.

What's more, anyone traveling from a country that's not on the U.K.'s travel list will have to quarantine for 10 days, despite proof of negative test results.

In addition to the test, people flooding into England will also have to fill out a Passenger Locator Form.

He said: "A negative pre-departure test reduces the risk of someone travelling whilst infectious, acting as another safeguard to prevent imported infections".

There will, however, be a small number of exemptions, including hauliers, children under 11, and those travelling from countries without the infrastructure to deliver tests.

UK to require negative COVID test for overseas arrivals

The mandatory testing regime will be introduced as a way to stop new variants of coronavirus, seen in Denmark and South Africa, from spreading in the United Kingdom, which has also identified a new variant of the disease.

Passengers will be required to show their negative test result before boarding, and transport operators will deny boarding if necessary, the same source said.

The U.K. enforced a second round of national lockdowns on January 6 requiring residents to stay at home unless there is a need for essential travel, such as work.

The go follows the determination to suspend all direct journey from South Africa pursuing the emergence there of a new pressure of coronavirus.

Pilots are exempt from the requirement, which also applies to all global arrivals into the country by train or ship.

Undoubtedly this causes much disruption for travellers making their way to the UK.

Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of the industry body Airlines UK, said: "This should be a short-term, emergency measure only and once the rollout of the vaccine accelerates, the focus must be on returning travel to normal as quickly as possible in order to support the UK's economic recovery".

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