United Kingdom Eases Coronavirus Testing Rules for International Visitors

United Kingdom Eases Coronavirus Testing Rules for International Visitors

Written by Adonis Hakk

February 2, 2022

People who refrained from visiting the UK in fear of getting stranded are in for great news as COVID-19 testing rules will temporarily be relaxed. The UK government announced this move to free up capacity as new cases remain at record levels.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the pre-departure tests for visitors travelling to the United Kingdom would no longer be required as restrictions meant to contain the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omciron variant are now considered meaningless.

People who test positive using a lateral flow test or rapid antigen test will no longer need to take a confirmatory PCR test, as the UK Health Security Agency said. As the prevalence is incredibly high, those who test positive with a lateral flow test are likely a true positive. Therefore, taking a follow-up PCR test to confirm results is unnecessary and will only cost significant amounts of money. It also uses up laboratory resources better used for more essential purposes.

Also, scientists welcome this shift in testing requirements. It is considered sensible as long as positive results are immediately reported and lateral flow kits are in excellent supply.

This change aims to encourage people who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to self-isolate as soon as they receive a positive result on a lateral flow device. However, those with symptoms still need to take a PCR test for a more accurate and reliable result. Furthermore, UK government officials believe that this move will enhance contract tracing as all those who log a positive result on an antigen test will be in the tracing system.

In addition to easing testing rules for international travellers, the UK government aims to facilitate COVID rules amidst the surge of cases in Europe due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. Mr. Johnson confirmed that England would move and follow the Plan B strategy following the spread of the new variant.

Plan B measures, implemented in December 2021, meant compulsory wearing of face masks in most indoor public settings, such as shops, public transport, theaters, and cinemas, and people are advised to work at home if possible.

Since the measures were introduced, the UK government has executed a massive booster vaccination campaign which garnered favourable results as Omicron cases gradually fall. Booster shots were successful in restoring protection from waning immunity of the COVID-19 vaccines.

At the start of 2022, the UK recorded a staggering 200,000 new COVID infections a day. But on January 18, it reported only 94,432 new cases. Undoubtedly, the Plan B measures were able to help slow the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and successfully provide booster shots to many. While the new variant continues to pose threats and cases remain high, the latest data is encouraging, and people can expect ease in COVID-19 measures if the favourable situation continues.

Currently, coronavirus testing is considered a vital tool in controlling the spread of the virus, and people are still encouraged to take a lateral flow device, especially when entering a high-risk setting involving different people.

Are you looking for a testing provider?

Harley Medic Global is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.

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