Brits may have to film themselves taking lateral flow tests for travel

·2-min read
Video calls with testing companies could become a reality (Getty Images)
Video calls with testing companies could become a reality (Getty Images)

Travel industry sources have suggested that British travellers may have to film themselves taking lateral flow tests after travel, in order to prevent people cheating the system.

Following the announcement that double vaccinated travellers will be able to take cheaper lateral flow tests instead of the current PCR as a “day two” test from late October, questions are being raised about how the latter will be tracked and monitored.

Sources told the Telegraph that the government is exploring the option of holidaymakers doing a swab on site at a registered provider, or through a video consultation, where the traveller completes the test watched by a trained member of the provider’s staff.

“You could have a simple mail order system, but the problem is that you have no verification whatsoever. You only have to look at social media to see videos of people faking it,” said the unnamed source.

“It’s up to the industry to come up with solutions,” they continued.

Holidaymakers and the travel industry have largely welcomed the announcement that PCRs will be swapped for lateral flows, given that the former costs on average £70, while the latter can cost as little as £22.

On Wednesday, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the change would be made “as quickly as possible”, in a bid to ease travel restrictions in time for October half term.

“They [Department of Health] are aware of half term and are working closely with the private-sector providers to ensure we can do this as quickly as possible,” he said.

Travel organisation Abta, Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye and British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle are just some of the leading travel industry figures who have called for an end to PCR testing, which many think is putting the UK public off travel.

Following last week’s travel announcement, BA boss Doyle said: “Based on the scientific evidence, with fewer than 1 per cent of people returning from low-risk countries testing positive for Covid (lower than the UK’s rate), we urge ministers to keep this policy under review, eliminating all testing for fully vaccinated travellers as soon as possible in the future, in line with most other European countries.”

This week the Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford voiced his concerns about the plans to discard day two PCR tests, citing the function of the more expensive test style for genomic sequencing, used to identify new variants of the Covid-19 virus.

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