UK cuts COVID-19 tests’ cost for global travellers, including from India

The test must be taken on or before day two after the traveller arrives in England.

London: The UK on Saturday reduced the cost of COVID-19 tests for international travellers from Amber list countries like India from 88 pounds to 68 pounds (USD 122 to USD 94), after many representations over the high charges of the mandatory testing.

Passengers returning from Green list countries or Amber list destinations like India, if they are fully vaccinated, will now pay 20 pounds (USD 27) less per Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

The test must be taken on or before day two after the traveller arrives in England.

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People who have not had both doses of the coronavirus vaccine and are returning from Amber list countries like India will also see the price of the two tests they need fall from 170 pounds to 136 pounds (USD 235 to USD 188). The tests must be taken on days two and eight of their arrival from abroad.

The price reduction does not affect arrivals from Red list countries, or if they purchase a test from a private provider, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace provide COVID-19 tests for international travel, but unlike normal lateral flow tests (LFT) or PCR ones for people with symptoms, they are paid for.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced a “rapid internal review” of prices charged by government-approved companies after claims holidaymakers are being exploited over private testing.

I’ve ordered my department to urgently review the list of private providers on to ensure pricing is clearer and transparent,” the minister said on Saturday.

“Any provider found to be misleading the public will be kicked off. Too many providers are acting like cowboys and that needs to stop. The public should be allowed to enjoy their summer holidays without having to face excessive costs or anxiety, he said.

Javid has also commissioned a wider review by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to address discrepancies in testing prices.

Since last weekend, India was moved from the Red List travel ban to Amber which means travellers coming into the UK can self-isolate at their designated address on a compulsory passenger locator form instead of only at a government-mandated hotel at extra costs.

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