Travellers will be fined if they try to use NHS tests to reduce their quarantine period to five days when Test and Release is introduced.
The scheme, to reduce quarantine from 14 days to five, is due to start “by 15 December”. Requirements are spelled out in the government’s Report of the Global Travel Taskforce.
The report warned: “Using an NHS test will not legally permit anyone to be released from self-isolation; any individual who attempts to use an NHS test in this way will be subject to a fixed penalty notice.
“The government will be taking steps to mitigate this risk, including working with transport operators to ensure passengers are made fully aware of how the scheme works and how they can opt in.”
The scheme will be open to arrivals by all modes of transport and to all arrivals from countries not on the travel corridor list.
The report explained: “We expect passengers to opt in to test to release by booking and paying for a privately provided test before they arrive in England; they will be required to indicate this on their passenger locator form (PLF).”
However, it added that where this was not possible, “passengers will be allowed to opt in at any point after arrival, subject to resubmitting their PLF”.
Covid testing can be carried out at home or at a testing centre.
The report said: “The government will not be specifying the type of test that testing providers should be supplying; while we will be setting out minimum standards in legislation, it will be up to the market to define how it meets those standards.
“This is so we can incentivise testing providers to innovate and allow space for new entrants into the market.”