One of the big expenses of travelling to the UK has been the cost of a COVID-19 test. From Sunday 24 October 2021, if you are arriving in England from a non-red list country, you can now take lateral flow tests instead of the much more expensive PCR tests. The test is taken on or before day 2 following arrival in England. Wales will make the change in about a week. Scotland and Wales may follow. This will be a significant benefit to people arriving into the UK including migrants. You will still need to complete a travel locator form before arriving in the UK.
Cheaper COVID-19 lateral flow test can now be used
The lateral flow test must be purchased from a private provider. Further details of test providers can be found on the Government site. Family groups in particular will save quite a lot of money. The costly tests were also a significant disincentive to tourists.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid made the following comments:
"I'm delighted that from today eligible travellers to England, who have had the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine, can benefit from a cheaper lateral flow test, providing faster results."
"This huge boost to the travel industry and the public will make it easier and cheaper for people to book holidays and travel abroad."
Latvia reintroduced tough COVID-19 restrictions
The recent Latvia lockdown has made news recently. The first European country to reintroduce restrictions, starting from 21 October and ending on 14 November. Latvia also has a curfew from 8pm to 5am. Non-essential shops are closed and essential goods are only available from 6am to 7pm.
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karenz previously announced on 8 October 2021 that people who had not been vaccinated would be banned from certain shops:
“People who have not obtained a certificate of vaccination from Corona will not be able to go to the shops for shopping,”
“Exceptions will be retail outlets that contain essential goods, ie grocery stores”.
Will COVID-19 restrictions be reintroduced in the UK?
Recently Prof Peter Openshaw of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) told BBC Breakfast:
"We all really, really want a wonderful family Christmas where we can all get back together.
"If that's what we want, we need to get these measures in place now in order to get transmission rates right down so that we can actually get together and see one another over Christmas."
There are ongoing arguments between the Boris Johnson Government who want to try and avoid restrictions, and some of their advisers who appear to want more restrictions now. Will some of the things that the Latvian Government are doing now be copied by the UK sometime in the future? Will there be a curfew in the UK, with unvaccinated people being banned from shops?
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