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1040 Abroad

UK Expected to Introduce Negative Test Requirement for International Arrivals

Multiple sources are reporting that international arrivals will require a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed entry into the UK

Published on January 7, 2020

Heathrow Airport Testing Testing Centre signage at Heathrow. Photo courtesy Heathrow Airport.

International arrivals, including those flying in from the USA, could soon be required to show a negative Covid-19 test in order to enter the UK.

According to reports, the idea was one of several being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT). A DfT spokesman said that "This country already has some of the strongest safeguards against importing COVID-19 in the shape of mandatory 10-day quarantine for the vast majority of arrivals, and Test to Release. Additional measures, including testing before departure, will help keep the importation of new cases to an absolute minimum".

Under the current regulations, international travelers need to quarantine for 10 days upon arriving in the UK. The rules were recently relaxed as part of the Test to Release scheme, which allows recent arrivals to take a Covid-19 test after 5 days, with a negative test permitting an early exit from quarantine.

However, the proposals would mean that travelers will need to test negative in advance before departure. Transatlantic airlines have widely established rapid testing procedures for passengers already, in a bid to create Covid free flights. It's unclear if these airline tests will be sufficient for the UK's proposed plans, which may require a negative test to be taken prior to the day of travel.

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