Murcia holidaymakers will soon be able to take advantage of cheaper COVID tests when they return home to the UK. The British government has announced that, from 24 October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England from countries not on the red list (including Spain) can take a lateral flow test on or before day two of their arrival rather than the more expensive PCR test.
The change comes just in time for travellers returning from half-term breaks, with tests able to be booked from 22 October through private providers listed on the GOV.UK travel advice website from that date.
In a press release announcing the change, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said, “We want to make going abroad easier and cheaper, whether you’re travelling for work or visiting friends and family… This change to testing is only possible thanks to the incredible progress of our vaccination programme, which means we can safely open up travel as we learn to live with the virus.”
Added secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps, “Today’s rule changes will make testing on arrival simpler and cheaper for people across the country who are looking forward to well-earned breaks for this October half term. Taking away expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a major step forward in normalising international travel and encouraging people to book holidays with confidence.”
According to Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), “Testing, along with vaccines, remains one of our first lines of defence against COVID-19. Getting a test as early as possible on arrival and isolation when necessary can help control the spread of the virus and protect one another.”
All travellers must complete their passenger locator form before travel, including a test booking reference number supplied by a testing provider. Travellers will be able to upload their test booking reference to the passenger locator form from 22 October for arrival in the UK from 24 October.
Following an overhaul of international travel rules by the UK government earlier this month, fully vaccinated travellers from destinations including Murcia no longer need to pay for a COVID-19 test before returning home.