COVID-19: Govt hoping to axe PCR tests for vaccinated holidaymakers by October half-term, minister says

The government wants to scrap PCR tests for fully vaccinated international travellers by the October half-term, a minister has told Sky News.

Speaking to Kay Burley, business minister Paul Scully said it was “absolutely the aim” to move to cheaper lateral flow COVID-19 tests by that point.

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“We’ve got to get the systems in place because we want to move to lateral flow tests to make it easier and cheaper for people to be able to enjoy those holidays at half-term,” he said.

His comments come after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs on Wednesday that ministers were “working as quickly as possible” to bring in the change.

Mr Shapps added that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is “aware” of the October half-term, when families will be planning to go on holiday.

The transport secretary last week announced a major relaxation of travel rules for people entering and leaving England.

From 4 October, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries will be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.

Anywhere not on the red list is considered green and clear for travel – there will no longer be an amber list.

Also from that date, passengers who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to take a pre-departure test for travelling into England from non-red list countries.

Then, from the end of October, people will be able to replace their day-two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test.

Those unvaccinated will still have to pay for PCR tests.

Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

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