Government plans to require international arrivals into England to test negative for Covid-19 before they depart have been pushed back.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed late on Wednesday (13 January) the new rules, which had been due to come into effect from 4am on Friday (15 January), would now be enforced from 4am on Monday (18 January).
"Update: To give international arrivals time to prepare, passengers will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure to England from Monday 18 January at 4am," said Shapps in a tweet.
Scotland has confirmed it will introduce similar rules for arrivals, with Wales and Northern Ireland understood to be working on like measures too.
Under the pre-departure testing regime, all arrivals will be required to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result, from a test taken up to 72 hours before departure.
It will apply to all arrivals by air, sea and rail, with some limited exemptions, which include children under the age of 11, hauliers, and air, maritime and rail crews.
Arrivals from travel corridor destinations will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return despite testing negative with the regime operating alongside quarantine rather than replacing it, although they will be able to use the government’s test to release scheme to shorten their self-isolation period.
Shapps added the government had also now published its guidance on the type of test they should book and when these should be taken to ensure they meet the scheme’s rules, with the full rules available from the gov.uk website.
It will be incumbent on travellers to provide evidence of their negative test at check-in; Border Force officials will then carry out spot checks at UK ports of entry. Anyone arriving without evidence of a negative test could be fined £500 on arrival.