British holidaymakers ‘to be given free coronavirus tests to take abroad’

A passenger at Heathrow Airport (PA Wire)
A passenger at Heathrow Airport (PA Wire)

UK travellers will reportedly be issued free coronavirus tests to take abroad under plans to make foreign holidays safer.

Fast-turnaround tests will be made available for free to cut the hassle and expense of getting a test in a foreign country, sources told the Mail.

But people returning from abroad will still need to pay for a PCR test when they get home - costing at least £50 each.

The reports came as Boris Johnson prepared to confirm on Friday that a ban on foreign holidays will be lifted on May 17.

However, it is thought that quarantine-free travel will likely be restricted initially to a 'very small' number of low-risk countries.

The Prime Minister said last month: “I do want to see international travel start up again.”

Mr Johnson said he was determined to “make things as flexible and as affordable as possible”.

Under the reported new plans, which according to the Mail will also be unveiled on Friday, passengers will be offered a fast-turnaround lateral flow test to take abroad.

A source told the newspaper that health officials were satisfied that self-administered tests would be sufficient. 

It comes after fresh concerns were raised by the travel industry about the cost of testing. International Air Transport Association research found the average minimum cost of a so-called gold standard PCR test across 16 countries was £65 while the average maximum cost was £150.

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