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England will now require international arrivals to have negative COVID-19 test

[The Points Guy] England will now require international arrivals to have negative COVID-19 test: England will require all international arrivals to have a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country. U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced early Friday that travelers arriving in England from international destinations will need to have a negative COVID-19 test result ? a requirement the aviation industry has been calling on for nine months.
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From next week, all international arrivals ? regardless if they’re British citizens ? wishing to travel to the U.K. by boat, plane or train will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to scheduled departure.
Interestingly, all passengers arriving from international destinations will have to have the negative COVID-19 test, regardless if they’re coming from a travel corridor country. In other words, those coming from high-risk countries will not only have to present a negative COVID-19 test result before departure, but they will also have to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in England.
Related: All countries, territories and regions that are on the UK?s travel corridor list
“We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions,” Shapps said in a statement. “Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence.”
According to the government, passengers will have to show their negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a flight to England.
“Transport operators will deny boarding if necessary,” the government said.
Additionally, passengers will have to show that negative test result on arrival into the U.K. Passengers who don’t have a negative test result to show will be subject to an immediate £500 (about $675) fine.
There will be some exemptions to this rule. At this time, that includes cargo workers, children under 11, airline crews and for those “travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver the tests.”
Dozens of countries around the world have already implemented pre-arrival testing measures in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. While the exact requirements vary from country to country, generally, most require all passengers to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, taken between 48 and 72 hours prior to arrival or departure.
The aviation industry at large has been pressing the government to implement a testing requirement for arriving passengers since travel began to resume last year. London Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye has long been a proponent of the testing requirement, saying it would restore passenger confidence in international travel and calling for a “common international standard.”
“The new UK test to release scheme is a vital first step in re-opening the skies, but we must now move rapidly towards a single test pre-departure regime in order to ensure the survival of UK aviation and protect 500,000 jobs reliant on the sector,” Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said in November 2020.
All passengers arriving in the U.K. from destinations that are not on the travel corridor list ? such as the U.S. ? will still need to quarantine for up to 10 days.
Since mid-December,  England now allows passengers to test out of a full 10-day quarantine. With Test to Release, passengers arriving from non-travel corridor destinations, such as the U.S., are able to take a test five days after arriving. If the test returns a negative result, the passenger will no longer need to quarantine for the full 10 days.
Regardless of where a passenger is coming from, they will have to complete a passenger locator form before arriving into the U.K.
As of Jan. 6, England entered its third national lockdown. As such, non-essential travel is illegal, rendering holidays not possible at this time. However, the government is not advising Brits who are currently abroad to return home.
Featured image by Joseph Eid/Getty Images.

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