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When the government said it would be scrapping mandatory PCR tests for foreign travel, we all said hurrah.
Replacing the system of day two tests, and day eight tests where relevant, will be the more rapid lateral flow tests we’ve been used to taking at home.
People who are fully vaccinated will no longer need a pre-departure test before returning from non-red list destinations, and from October, will be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test. Those who are unvaccinated will still have to pay for PCR tests.
The trouble is, lateral flow test results have the potential to be faked by getting someone else to take the test for you. One of the solutions being discussed could be asking the passenger to film themselves taking the test as a form of verification. That’s right: gagging, sneezing and all.
A source told the Telegraph: “You could have a simple mail order system but the problem is that you have no verification whatsoever.
“You only have to look at social media to see videos of people faking it.”
There may be other options, including completing your lateral flow in airports at a registered testing site or putting your sample in a sealed bag until the result is returned.
The Department of Health is figuring out the provisions it will introduce for the updated system – and HuffPost UK has contacted them for an update.
Business minister Paul Scully has confirmed the government could scrap departure and arrival PCR tests from as early as the October half-term holiday.
He told Sky News on Friday: “We’ve got to get the systems in place because we want to move to lateral flow tests to make it easier and cheaper for people to be able to enjoy those holidays at half-term.
“The aim is later on in October. We know that half-term is looming, we know people want to get away, but we also want to encourage business travel as well, because that is investment in the UK, it is investment in jobs and creates opportunities for people.”
The shake-up is expected to lead to a surge in bookings for foreign holidays.
Already, in the days leading up to the announcement, demand for “red” list holiday destinations started increasing in the expectation that rules would be loosened.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the new system was “proportionate” and “reflects the new landscape” of the numbers of those who are fully vaccinated.
“The changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system,” says Schapps. “One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.”
People returning to the UK from “red” destinations will still have to enter a quarantine hotel for 10 days, which will cost travellers £2,285 each.
Travel is the story of our summer. The rules (and traffic lights) are always changing, but one thing’s clear, we dream of being Anywhere But Here. This seasonal series offers you clear-headed travel advice, ideas-packed staycation guides, clever swaps and hacks, and a healthy dose of wanderlust.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.