The rule change will apply to all international arrivals except those on the UK Red List, which currently only includes seven countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
This means families returning from their vacation halfway through will not have to shell out as much for the required test on the second day after arrival.
The government was under intense pressure to confirm whether the change would happen in time for the popular vacation slot after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said last week that the government was “making travel easier and cheaper for people to travel. people by allowing fully vaccinated travelers… to use lateral flow tests on the second day of arrival… ”- but only gave“ end of October ”as a target.
Passengers should upload a photo of their test and the booking reference provided by the private provider to verify the results as soon as possible, the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) said.
They will also be able to order lateral flow tests from private test providers – an approved list of which will be posted on the gov.uk website on October 22.
The semester at most schools in England and Wales ends on the weekend of October 30 and 31, but some will return a week earlier.
Eligible travelers will be able to book to undergo a lateral flow test upon arrival in the UK, which can be performed at test centers located at select airports, the DHSC added.
“We want to make traveling abroad easier and cheaper, whether you are traveling for work or visiting friends and family,” Mr Javid said in his latest statement.
“Lateral flow tests will be available later this month for those returning from vacation mid-term. “
He added that the test change was “only possible” because of “incredible progress in our vaccination program, which means we can safely open travel as we learn to live with the virus. “.
Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, called the move “a major step forward in standardizing international travel” and said families would now be able to book travel “with confidence.”
He said: “Today’s rule changes will make on-arrival testing simpler and cheaper for people across the country who are eagerly awaiting well-deserved breaks for this October semester. “
In an emoji-filled tweet, Shapps added that the move “would make travel easier and simpler for everyone.”
But Paul Charles, managing director of travel consultancy The PC Agency, condemned the change as not going far enough – saying those who are “completely fucked up, you shouldn’t need to take a test at all.” .
Using the Transportation Secretary’s comments against him, Mr Charles told the PA news agency: “The testing measures are not only a big deal for many, but are also a tax on travel and deter people from traveling. book with confidence, due to the higher costs.
“These barriers will certainly not help the travel industry recover as quickly as it should be now. “
He added, “Also, I don’t need to be tested if I come back from a crowded football stadium, so why should I take a test when coming back from a business meeting or vacation in a villa ?
A flurry of vacationers took to social media after the news broke, with some praising it as “good” and “long overdue,” while others called it “irresponsible.”
“So that’s pretty good news if you travel a lot inside and outside the UK”, Nik Goodman tweeted.
A woman, who only calls herself Charlotte on Twitter, responded directly to Mr Shapps’ post to ask if he thought the change was reasonable in light of ‘today’s Covid case numbers’.
“Lateral flow tests are also unreliable,” she said. wrote, adding, “If we get any new variants in this country that the vaccine doesn’t work against, then it’s under your watch!” “
The latest government figures on Thursday showed that in the past 24 hours there had been 45,066 more laboratory-confirmed Covid cases in the UK.