In a statement Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care said, it was cutting the cost of COVID-19 tests for travel from the National Health Service (NHS) and was reviewing the list of private providers to ensure pricing is transparent; it also warned that it would clamp down on misleading pricing.
While testing is free for people with COVID-19 symptoms, tests used for travel purposes have to be purchased. The travel industry, which has been brought to a standstill because of the coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic, has complained that costs of tests are too high.
The United Kingdom operates a “traffic light” system for international travel, with low-risk countries rated green for quarantine-free travel, medium risk countries rated amber, and red countries requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in isolation in a hotel.
Travelers arriving from green and amber-list destinations must take at least one such test to avoid fines of up to $2,773 (2,000 pounds).
In a statement the Department of Health and Social Care said, the cost of NHS travel tests will be reduced from 88 pounds to 68 pounds for arrivals from green list countries while those arriving from amber-list countries have to pay 136 pounds, down from 170 pounds, for two tests.
“I know how much people have looked forward to their summer holidays and that the cost of PCR testing can be a barrier to that. That is why I am determined to protect consumers and hardworking families from exploitative practices and ensure high quality tests are available at a reasonable price,” said British health minister Sajid Javid.
Javid has ordered a rapid review of the pricing and service standards of all test providers.
“Any provider found to be misleading the public will be kicked off (the list),” said Javid.
Last week Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), began a review of the COVID-19 tests market following a request from Javid. ($1 = 0.7212 pounds)