All arrivals to the UK could soon need a negative Covid test - what we know so far

Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 10:14 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 10:14 am

Travellers arriving in the UK from overseas could soon be required to show proof that they have recently had a negative Covid test.

The measures are being considered in order to curb the spread of coronavirus “across the UK border,” the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

Covid test could be introduced for UK arrivals

All four devolved countries in the UK are now experiencing tighter lockdown restrictions in order to stop the quickly spreading new variant of Covid-19, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson facing calls to strengthen international border protections.

Ministers are understood to be currently considering introducing a requirement for international arrivals to the UK to have a negative coronavirus test before they travel, but hauliers would be exempt from this.

The Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference on Tuesday (5 Jan) that the Government will be “bringing in measures to ensure that we test people coming into this country and prevent the virus from being readmitted”.

The Government resisted introducing border restrictions during the first lockdown in March, with experts arguing it would do little to bring down infection rates, due to the prevalence of the virus being so high.

However, a quarantine period for travellers to the UK was introduced in June, when cases became more controlled.

Currently, arrivals into the UK from countries that are not exempt under the travel corridor programme must isolate for a period of 10 days. However, this can be shortened if travellers take a private test five days after their departure and this comes back negative.

Various countries across the globe, including Spain, France, Greece and Germany, have already introduced the requirement for travellers from the UK to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before they enter the country.

However, some other countries, including Croatia and Columbia, do not require a negative Covid-19 test before arrival.

Announcement to be made soon

Michael Gove told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that a decision will be announced on whether or not the UK will require a negative Covid test from those arriving in the country, and that he is in discussions with the devolved UK administrations in regards to this.

Mr Gove said: “We will be making announcements later today and in the days ahead about how we will make sure that our ports and airports are safe.

“It is already the case that there are significant restrictions on people coming into this country and of course we’re stressing that nobody should be travelling abroad.

“But I don’t want to pre-empt the specific advice that is going to be given.”