UK government to start demanding negative Covid test result from travellers to England

Heathrow airport - file photo.
Heathrow airport - file photo. / EFE
  • Tests must have been carried out within 72 hours of departure and self-isolation of ten days will still be applied to passengers from Spain

The UK government said this Friday that all travellers will be obliged to present a negative Covid-19 test result before departing for England "to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally".

Passengers travelling from countries not on the government's safe travel corridor list (including Spain) will still be obliged to self-isolate for ten days, despite the negative result, according to the new regulations which come into force next week.

The measure, announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, states that inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in.

"We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions," said Shapps.

"Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence - helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks," he added.

The government has described the measures as "decisive action" in response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both domestically and across the globe.

"Pre-departure testing will protect travel and will provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10 day self-isolation for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to England," it said.