Mandatory testing to bolster UK border measures

By Confidente Reporter

ALL international arrivals, including UK nationals, are required to present a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure for entry into the United Kingdom.

Passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of £500 if they fail to comply with the new regulations on pre-departure testing.

All passengers arriving from countries not on the UK government’s Travel Corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of test result.

Passengers will still be required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form and be subject to national lockdown restrictions.

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before departing for England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that from next week inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test no more than 72 hours before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa.

Pre-departure testing will protect travel and will provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10 day quarantine for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to England.

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

The UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrival into England to ensure that passengers are fully compliant.

The move further bolsters existing protective measures which helped to safely enable international travel last year, with self-isolation for new arrivals and travel corridors remaining critical in reducing the risk of imported cases from high-risk countries.

Shapps said, “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. Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.”

National lockdown restrictions which came into force on January 6 2021 remain in place meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.

There will be a limited number of exemptions, including for hauliers, children under -11, crews and for those who travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver the tests. Further exemptions will be set out on gov.uk.

This follows the recent decision to temporarily suspend direct travel from South Africa to England after new evidence emerged from health authorities reporting an outbreak of a variant strain of coronavirus spreading to some local communities.

Those who travel indirectly from South Africa must self-isolate for 10 days.