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Travelers Must Have Negative Covid-19 Test Result to Enter England

Photo source: Heathrow Airport

Passengers arriving from all international destinations to England (including UK nationals) as of 4am (local time) on Friday, January 15, will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recently announced that all inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa.

According to an announcement by the UK’s Department for Transport, this will be an additional requirement that applies to all passengers, including those traveling from a travel corridor country, other than those on a very short list of exemptions.

“Pre-departure testing will protect travel and provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10-day self-isolation for arrivals,” the announcement said.

It is reminded that passengers arriving from countries not on the UK government’s travel corridor list must self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their pre-departure test result to provide further robust protection from those traveling from high-risk countries.

The UK has removed Greece from its travel corridor list since November 2020 with the exception of five Greek islands: Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes and Zakynthos. This means that travelers from those five Greek destinations will not have to self-isolate upon arrival to the UK.

Stiff fines

Passengers will be required to show their negative test result before boarding, and transport operators will deny boarding if necessary. On arrival back into the UK, Border Force will check passengers test results through the current spot check regime, to ensure that individuals are compliant with the new rules. Otherwise, passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of £500.

There will be a limited number of exemptions, including for hauliers, children under 11, crews and for those who travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver the tests.

All travellers will still be required to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arrival into England.

National lockdown restrictions, which came into force in the UK on January 6, remain in place meaning that everyone must stay at home unless traveling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.

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