Travel news latest: Ministers consider ‘bring a bottle’ plan to cut holiday test costs

The Transport Secretary has hinted that free NHS tests could be used to facilitate international travel in the future, ending the need for holidaymakers to purchase notoriously expensive PCR tests. 

Speaking at an industry webinar yesterday evening, Grant Shapps said that travellers may be able to “[take] the lateral flow tests, potentially, that they already have access to from home.” 

The statement appears to suggest that holidaymakers could be permitted to use free NHS tests to obtain ‘fit to fly’ certificates, instead of PCR devices which currently cost an average of £128 per test. The twice-weekly NHS lateral flow tests are currently offered to everyone in England as part of the Government’s plans to ease lockdown, but the results are not presently accepted for international travel.

Travellers may also be permitted to use NHS test results to re-enter England after their holiday. “We are looking at things like whether people can take their tests away,” he added. “A sort of Covid version of ‘bring your own bottle’ when you go on holiday.”

However, Mr Shapps confirmed that PCR tests would be required for the foreseeable future. “For the time being, the PCR test gets us closer to the truth about somebody’s Coronavirus and for the time being that’s the one that’s going to be required.”

Scroll down for more on this, and other breaking travel news.

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Shapps confirms ‘green watchlist’

The Transport Secretary has also confirmed plans for a ‘green watchlist’, with the aim of avoiding last-minute changes to the ‘travel traffic light’ system. 

Speaking in last night’s webinar, hosted by ConservativeHome and Airlines UK, Mr Shapps explained:

We’re going to have a Green watchlist to try to give people more of an indication if there are concerns which might lead to quarantine later.

We don’t currently have an Amber watchlist category because people are already required to quarantine.

 He also confirmed that vaccination certificates “will of course, be part of international travel”.

Monday’s headlines

Before we begin, here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s travel news:

  • Desperate scramble for travellers returning from India
  • Border officials detect at least 100 fake Covid certificates every day
  • Israel mulls ‘green travel corridor’ with the UK
  • The majority of Brits call for quarantine- and test-free travel, survey reveals 
  • Two tests before a trip to Scotland’s islands
  • The Break Debate: What actually is a ‘staycation’?
  • Boris Johnson: ‘We keep the list under constant review’

Now, on with today’s stories.