UK government split over travellers filming Covid-19 tests

Transport secretary believes health ministry plan will trigger backlash

The UK government is at odds over a plan to require travellers to film themselves taking a lateral flow test.

Under Britain's current travel rules, which came into force on October 4, travellers are required to take the test on or before the second day of their arrival or return.

The UK's Department of Health and Social Care concocted the plan with the approval of Health Secretary Sajid Javid. It would mean travellers would either take a lateral flow in a video conference monitored by a health adviser from a private company, or visit a private testing site to take the test.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps believes the proposals to be unnecessary and overly expensive – a view echoed by the travel industry, which has said the extra staffing needed to make them work would add £15 to the cost of a £30 lateral flow test. It also fears the extra administrative hurdle would deter people from international travel.

Instead, Mr Shapps' department said the tests should be taken at home and a photo of the result emailed to the private testing facility.

"The Department for Transport is not happy with the idea of video testing," a source told The Telegraph.

"They hope it won't be adopted because it is just another unnecessary hurdle to restoring foreign travel. But it will come down to how much support it gets on the day."

The decision is expected to be taken on Thursday, when a substantial slashing of the number of countries on the UK's red list is also anticipated as the government attempts to revivify the ailing travel sector.

To this end, the Foreign office has also lifted advice against non-essential travel to more than 30 countries that weren't on the red list. The move will make it easier for holidaymakers to get insurance to visit these destinations.

Updated: October 7th 2021, 8:48 AM
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