Price of Covid test kits set to skyrocket following new omicron rules – .

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Price of Covid test kits set to skyrocket following new omicron rules – .


Prices for PCR tests are expected to skyrocket following the new omicron rules amid warnings that private companies “will raise their prices.”

Some vendors have already started increasing their prices in the past 24 hours, according to Paul Charles, managing director of The PC Agency, a travel consulting firm.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on Saturday, the Prime Minister insisted that “we are not going to prevent people from traveling”.

But he said all passengers arriving from overseas will now have to take a PCR test before the end of their second day after reaching the country and self-isolate until they test negative.

Mr Charles, a former Virgin Atlantic executive, told the Telegraph: “You can guarantee that test providers will increase their prices at any sign of increased demand.

“The test providers are in the private sector and they base their prices on demand. If demand increases, they will increase their prices.

“There is no regulation or major oversight of private testing providers. The testing industry is worth well over a billion pounds and has grown in a very short period of time. “

Other countries – including Portugal and Switzerland – have also tightened their entry restrictions.

Proof required

From December 1, all arrivals to Portugal will have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, regardless of their vaccination status.

To enter Switzerland, Britons must present a negative PCR test and be quarantined for 10 days. Spain will only accept fully vaccinated British tourists from next month.

“I think the new self-isolation measures will wipe out most of the inbound business and leisure travel in a very critical time until Christmas, because why would you bother if you have to self-isolate? Said Mr. Charles.

“They will also reduce the number of new overseas trips from the UK at the end of December, which is also a critical time for many travel agencies. “

He said the government created the kind of uncertainty around travel that “decimated” bookings earlier in the pandemic.

“When you introduce quarantine – whether in a hotel or at home – it lowers confidence and deters people from booking. These measures will be quite damaging at a time when the industry is barely recovering. “

Mr Charles said fear in the travel industry is that the red list will widen as more cases are discovered, “before knowledge is really available on the impact of the vaccine” on the omicron variant.

South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola have all been added to the red list, flights from these countries to the United Kingdom being prohibited.

This means that anyone arriving from these countries will have to spend 10 days in a hotel quarantine upon their return to the UK and face a penalty of £ 10,000 if they break the rules.

Those who returned from these countries before 4 a.m. on Sunday via another country, or who returned from South Africa in the past 10 days, will be required to quarantine themselves at home for 10 days.

Labor calls for new measures

Meanwhile, Labor has called for pre-departure testing for travelers following the latest omicron variant.

Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign minister, said her party “desperately” wants the government “to tighten” travel restrictions after two new cases of the variant are discovered in England.

Over the weekend, Boris Johnson announced new precautionary measures to try to take control of the variant, including stipulating that all international arrivals must undergo a second day PCR test and self-isolate until that they receive a negative result.

However, Ms Nandy said the government must introduce more than a two-day test.

She said: “The government says everyone must have a PCR test on the second day when they return to the UK, but it does not suggest pre-departure testing for people before boarding flights. “

She told Trevor Phillips on Sunday that despite the government having been “on notice” for months, there was currently no advice for people regarding returning from the airport by public transport and there was had “very few controls on the PCR tests that are performed”.

Ms. Nandy added that questions remained for the government around the scientific advice provided on mask wearing and “very little action on ventilation in public buildings”.

Meanwhile, Labor MP Yvette Cooper said the government should reinstate pre-travel testing “immediately” to help identify and contain the spread of the Omicron variant.

She said: “Just reintroducing PCR testing after two days at home is not sufficient as a precautionary approach as it leaves too many loopholes in the system.

“People can still travel on busy planes, wait in busy departure or arrival halls, and then return home by bus, train or metro, all without being tested at all. “

Ms Cooper said it was known from previous waves and variants that “the virus spreads via other countries and via indirect flights, not just directly from the most affected countries – which is why early testing of all countries are vital ”.

“But, again, the government appears to be leaving significant loopholes in the travel testing regime,” Ms. Cooper added.

“They’ve done it too many times already and they can’t make the same mistakes again. They need to learn from what happened in previous waves and quickly set up comprehensive tests.

“Until we know more about omicron and how it interacts with our vaccines, the government must take swift and sensible action to prevent its spread in the UK. ”

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