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Sunday, Jan 24, 2021

UK: Mandatory COVID-19 testing introduced to bolster border measures

UK: Mandatory COVID-19 testing introduced to bolster border measures

International arrivals required to prove negative COVID-19 test result before departure for England.
- all international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure

- passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of £500 if they fail to comply with the new regulations on pre-departure testing

- all passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of test result

- passengers will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and be subject to national lockdown restrictions

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before departing for England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that from next week inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa.

Today’s (8 January 2021) decisive action is in response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both domestically and across the globe. Pre-departure testing will protect travel and will provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10 day self-isolation for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to England.

A negative pre-departure test reduces the risk of someone travelling whilst infectious, acting as another safeguard to prevent imported infections. Passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list must self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their pre-departure test result to provide further robust protection from those travelling from high-risk countries.

Prior to departure passengers will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to carriers, as well as their passenger locator form. The UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrival into England to ensure that passengers are fully compliant.

The move further bolsters existing protective measures which helped to safely enable international travel last year, with self-isolation for new arrivals and travel corridors remaining critical in reducing the risk of imported cases from high-risk countries.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:

"We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions."

"Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence - helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks."

National lockdown restrictions which came into force on 6 January 2021 remain in place meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.
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