Testing capacity can't meet international travel needs says expert

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From May 17 holidays could be back on to some destinations under the Government’s “traffic light” system. However, regardless of which colour their destination is categorised as, Britons will be required to take a number of PCR tests before and after their holiday.

Currently, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advised Britons they are not permitted to use the NHS testing services to facilitate travel.

As Rory Boland, editor of Which? travel, points out while there are many private test providers, there are far fewer labs that are currently able to process tests.

He fears that should popular destinations make it onto the green list, a travel boom could see tests being returned late or even being completely unavailable.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Boland explained: “While there are hundreds of private test providers there are just a handful of labs that these are going to.

“We have heard from lots of people who are struggling to get their test results back on time.

“That means they are in many cases unnecessarily quarantining.

“Many are worried about the big fines you could potentially pay.

“There was one person who had the police turn up at the door because they had not provided the test on time.”

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The testing rules are also causing problems for Britons currently abroad, whether they are travelling for “essential purposes” or are experts.

“Then there are people abroad, UK residents trying to come home who are finding it confusing and difficult to get a test there as well.”

Travel expert Brian Young, managing director of the tour operator G Adventures, listed Greece and Portugal as being front-runners for the “green” list when he spoke to Express.co.uk earlier in April.

Greece’s tourism minister has also said he is “confident” the nation will make the “green list” cut.

However, the addition of popular holiday hotspots could cause an “insurmountable problem” according to Mr Boland.

“If Greece opens up and goes onto the green list, or Portugal, one of those big countries and we see hundreds of thousands or even millions of people asking for these tests it’s simply not possible,” he warned.

“That is the truth of the moment. So you face two problems.

“You may struggle to book a test and if you can’t book a test the airline is not going to let you get onboard.

“If you get to the border you could be in trouble as well.

“Or you do book a test and you get home but the test doesn’t return to you that means you need to quarantine for 14 days.”

He concluded: “At the moment it is kind of a moderate problem.

“If the green list goes ahead in just a few weeks and millions of people start travelling it’s going to be an insurmountable problem.”

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