‘All unavailable’: Travel ‘nightmare’ due to tests’ shortages – system ‘falling apart’

Covid-19: Simon Calder explains when to book travel PCR tests

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Holidaymakers coming back to the UK still need to take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they have a negative result. Until the next travel update, which is expected in the coming days, anyone coming back to the UK is faced with travel restrictions.

The country is experiencing test shortages and this is causing problems for Britons trying to come home after the holidays.

A Day 2 PCR test needs to be booked before entering the country, with holidaymakers needing to self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

On Twitter, Lisa Francesca Nand said: “Hearing reports of very few PCR tests available to return back to the UK.

“A friend just spent an hour trying to book one and they were all unavailable.

“You need the code on your passenger locator form to return home.”

She then explained: “The only one he could get was £100.

“Imagine that if you’re travelling as a family. Which I will be doing in a few days. As a single parent I will be paying £300 for me and two small children just on tests.”

Isabelle Roughol replied: “It’s ridiculous. I purchased mine a month early to be safe. Given that there’s no one even checking that you’re swabbing, it’s all about money, not safety.”

Lisa agreed and said: “As far as I know there’s still no one checking the result.”

The logistical “nightmare” of PCR tests were universally despised by social media users.

Adam Lethbridge said: “I paid £67 for a Day 2 PCR test kit for my wife returning from Zambia, we got the code for the PLF but the kit arrived eight days late, no use and they refused to give a refund.”

Lisa also had a test turn up late: “Yeah mine turned up on day six once. I didn’t bother doing it.”

Holidaymakers trying to come home to the UK need to take a test before travelling, and a PCR test on or before Day 2.

The rules were set out at the end of 2021 and have already impacted the travel industry.

Alistair Rowland, Chief Executive for long-haul tour operator, Blue Bay Travel, and Chairman of ABTA said: “The re-introduction of PCR testing on day 2 after returning to the UK and now the requirement to do a pre-departure test before flying home are two significant barriers for holidaymakers from both a risk and cost perspective.

“The pre-departure test, in particular, raises a red flag for holidaymakers who are worried about getting stuck in the resort, after receiving a positive test result, and not being able to return home as planned.”

ABTA, The Travel Association said: “The Government needs to look at the cost of testing which has proved for many prohibitively expensive throughout the pandemic.

“Market competition has failed to reduce prices, so the Government must step in and consider a price cap on PCR tests and the removal of VAT.”

On December 14, transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “All current testing measures remain in place and will be reviewed in the first week of January.”

And Mary replied: “Our day two tests not arrived! (First issue this year). Day two tomorrow so looks like we indoors until they arrive and then get the results. It’s falling apart!”

The transport secretary continued: “As always, we keep all our travel measures under review and we may impose new restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health.”

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