Travel chaos as Shapps delays coronavirus testing regime for UK arrivals amid huge backlas

Nicola Sturgeon says she will be ‘reviewing travel restrictions’

The new testing regime was originally meant to begin at 4am on Friday, however, this has now been delayed until Monday. Those looking to enter England will be required to show proof of a negative covid test at least 72 hours before you start your journey to England. The Government website states: “For example, if you travel on Friday, you must take a test no earlier than Tuesday.”

If arrivals don’t have proof of a negative covid test, they may not be allowed to enter the country.

Anyone who arrives in England without proof of a negative test result could be fined £500.

However, the new rules have been delayed until 4am on Monday after passengers on long-haul flights rushed to find tests in time, according to the MailOnline, with many fearful that they could incur the hefty fine.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter last night the new date will give visitors time to “prepare”.

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He said: “To give international arrivals time to prepare, passengers will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure to England from MONDAY 18 JANUARY at 4am.”

The Government website states that if you are arriving in England before this date, “you are under no legal obligation to get a test before you travel”.

Travellers will also not be denied boarding for failing to provide proof of a negative covid test and will not be fined.

However, the Government is “encouraging” travellers to comply with the guidance and get a test if they can.

The Government website has a list of exemptions for people who do not need to take a test before they enter England which includes those with certain occupations.

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Travellers will be required to find their own test provider and must make sure the test provider meets the correct standards.

The test must meet performance standards greater than 97 percent specificity and 80 percent sensitivity.

The tests include a PCR test, a LAMP test and an antigen test.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) pages will be updated with information regarding where travellers can get tests locally.

CEO of travel consultancy, The PC Agency Paul Charles also posted an update on Twitter regarding the new testing process being “put back”.

His post was immediately inundated with concerned travellers who seemed sceptical of the process.

One user said: “Given the mess of the Test and Trace list I am sceptical about the FCDO being able to provide any signposting.

“And what’s the infrastructure in the UK/at boarding to check each of those detailed requirements?”

Another user commented: “No problem, I’m sure the virus will wait.”

While another user replied: “What about the people who paid for testing that they don’t need now?

“The Government makes a mess out of all travel announcements as they don’t allow a reasonable amount of time before implementing their latest rules.

“It caused havoc over the summer in regards to travel corridors.”

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