UK health chief calls cost of Covid travel tests 'unfair'

Competition and Markets Authority is to investigate prices

Britain’s competition watchdog on Sunday said it would look into the cost of Covid-19 testing for travellers.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid earlier said that high prices for the government-mandated tests were stopping some people going on holidays.

PCR tests required for most travellers average about £75 ($104) each, or £300 for a family of four, but many companies charge significantly more.

Prices quoted by providers on the government website range from £17 to £250.

Mr Javid said on Sunday that he had asked the Competition and Markets Authority to clamp down on “unfair market practices” by test providers.

“People should be able to go on holiday, whether it’s to see family or just to relax, without fearing excessive fees for PCR tests,’’ he said on Twitter.

The watchdog has the authority to intervene directly when it uncovers unfair practices but can also provide advice to ministers so they can take swifter action.

“We are aware of concerns about the evolving markets for Covid-19 tests for international travellers,” the agency said.

“We look forward to providing the Secretary of State with advice on how best to ensure that travellers have access to tests that are affordable and reliable.”

Updated: August 8th 2021, 9:53 PM