An overseas FEST this Christmas could see a family of four spend an extra £100 as pre-flight Covid tests become mandatory.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced tonight that all travelers over the age of 12 must have a PCR test or a lateral flow test before returning to the UK from 7 December.
The test must be taken within 48 hours before returning to the UK.
The new rule will apply whether or not passengers are fully vaccinated, and means holidaymakers will have to pay for tests while abroad.
This amount depends on the costs families have faced for the required lateral flow tests for the first two days after they go home.
Tests used cannot be issued by the NHS and must be purchased by private providers listed on gov.uk for around £22.
Passengers must take a photo of their side flight and booking reference provided by a private provider and send it back to them to verify the results, or face a £1,000 fine.
Some people, including children 11 years of age and younger, exempt from taking tests.
Ministers in Westminster signed off on new pre-departure tests this afternoon with the requirement coming into effect at 4am on 7 December.
The introduction of Covid tests before departure has been seen as a “devastating blow” to the travel of the Airport Operators Association executive.
Karen Dee says the policy will act as a “primary deterrent” to travel.
“This is a devastating blow to the aviation and tourism industries,” she said.
“Pre-departure checks act as a travel barrier, and most of the limited demand left behind after self-isolation will now be gone, just like the The airport is hoping for a small increase over the Christmas break.
“Tourism and aviation are the only sectors restricted from operating under the Omicron variant.
“The UK and development governments should have done the right thing and along with the restrictions, have announced to support our businesses and staff through another phase of shutdown.”
Adding disproportionate costs to any quick Christmas break, other European nations are also stepping up their fight against the on-demand Omicron variant.
In France, travelers from the UK are also allowed to present a negative PCR or antigen test done 24 prior to entry into the country, effective from today, December 4.
People arriving in the country from within the EU or the Schengen area – not the UK – will only have to check if they are unvaccinated.
Travelers from the UK entering France will also need a “sworn” health form as well as a PCR test to gain entry.
A PCR test can cost between £50 and £100 depending on how long the results take.
The news coincides with the start of France’s popular ski season, leaving many travelers scrambling to arrange pre-travel tests this weekend.
The UK Health Security Agency says 26 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported across the UK, including 25 in the UK.
That means the total number of confirmed cases of this variant in the UK is now 160, the agency said.
The move will anger the ailing tourism industry as holidaymakers face the added cost burden of overseas trips since Tuesday.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Health Secretary Sajid Javid led a virtual COVID-O meeting after Omicron cases were found in forty countries.
Mr Javid said the measures were “extremely regrettable” but insisted they would only be temporary”.
“We want to remove them as soon as possible,” he added.
The ministers acted after initial evidence that the gap between infection and infection was shorter than in the Delta variant, meaning cases could be detected earlier.
The decision will be reviewed on December 18 along with other COVID measures such as wearing face masks on public transport.
That means travelers will have to take at least two tests within four days to comply with all COVID measures.
‘WEEKLY’ CHECKING COST
It marks the reintroduction of measures that were familiar to visitors to the UK until last October.
Nigeria becomes a ‘red’ country along with others including South Africa, which will require UK citizens to self-isolate at home and others to order quarantine services. hotel approved by the government in ten days.
Meanwhile, Labor last night called on the government to cap the price of a PCR test for individuals taking a day 2 PCR test in the UK.
Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh wants action before the festive period begins.
“Many people who fly home for the first Christmas since the pandemic began will have to bear the brunt of the scandalous testing costs,” she said.
“Unscrupulous private providers are pocketing millions of dollars, and forcing families to shell out huge sums of money.
“Ministers are sitting idle while those who want to do the right thing are paying the price for this broken market.
A UKHSA spokesperson said: “There are so many tests online now and we continue to work to make the market fair and transparent for everyone.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/16941488/how-much-a-holiday-cost-new-covid-tests/ Updated Covid travel rules mean family holidays will cost up to £100 more as you now need to check before flying back to UK