The staggering price difference between the two countries has been accompanied by growing chaos in Britain, with some suppliers struggling to keep up with demand. Anyone entering the UK from Amber List countries such as France, Spain, Italy or the US must book two PCR tests for days two and eight of their return.
gGovernment-approved companies charge people traveling to the UK up to £ 575 for mandatory Covid-19 testing which is free for everyone in France.
Suppliers advertised on the government website include the Mayfair GP Clinic in central London, which charges £ 575 for a testing package.
The cheapest option on the approved list is £ 81 for two swab tests, which customers do themselves and then post. French and foreign nationals are not billed for the same service in government-approved clinics in Paris.
“PCR tests are free for anyone who comes in,” said a staff member from the MLab center in the Marais district. “The swab tests are done immediately – there is normally no queue – and the results are emailed within hours. She added: “We don’t expect people to test themselves and then put their samples in the mail – the professionals are there to do it all. Anyone entering Britain from France needs a negative PCR test to show UK authorities, which they can get for free before leaving.
But then they are forced to pay private providers for two tests in the UK. If they fail to do so, travelers cannot be released from the mandatory 10 days of isolation.
They may seek to end their quarantine after five days, but that means paying extra for a third PCR test.
“The UK system is not just a scam, it doesn’t work,” a Eurostar passenger who arrived in London from Paris last week told Standard.
Louis, 48, who did not want to give his last name, said: “I got my PCR tests in France for nothing, but then I paid a British company nose and beard. for three tests. None of them arrived on time and then they got lost or delayed in the post after I sent them back.
“The fifth day result was never sent to me, which meant I had to self-isolate for 10 days instead of five days, and even then I had to bring in another company for a new test. I am now fighting for a refund from the company that let me down.
RT Diagnostics – the Halifax-based company used by Louis – is still on the UK government’s approved list.
Customers of the company have complained that they cannot reach her by phone or email, and today she had a “poor” rating of two out of five stars on the Trustpilot review site.
RT Diagostics blamed “messaging problems” for the long delays and said they were trying to cope with a backlog of tests.
Antigen tests – which are less reliable than PCR tests and can be obtained for free in most parts of Britain and France – are not recognized for travel to the UK.
A negative Antigen test is now accepted by the French for anyone wishing to enter the country from Great Britain, provided it is accompanied by proof of two vaccines against the coronavirus.