The UK Government has confirmed that mandatory pre-departure testing for all inbound passengers to England from most countries in the world will begin from 4am this Friday (15 January) to safeguard public health. For arrivals from Antigua and Barbuda this will come in to force for all passengers arriving from 4am UK time on Thursday 21 January.
All arrivals must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken no more than three (3) days prior to departure
Detailed guidance for passengers published today on GOV.UK
Operators have the right to refuse boarding for passengers without a negative result and completed passenger locator form in the coming weeks – and those found travelling without the right documents risk being fined £500
Antigua and Barbuda remains on the UK’s “Travel Corridors” list so arrivals from the country will not need to self-isolate on arrival, however all travellers must follow the UK’s national lockdown rules
The move will bolster existing measures already in place to guard
against a concerning increase in new variants of COVID-19 circulating internationally.
Detailed guidance published on GOV.UK today sets out how passengers should follow the new rules – including the details of documents needed for travel and the types of test accepted.
Before travelling, passengers will need to find a provider which meets the standards set out on gov.uk – the majority of which will be Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. If passengers do not use a PCR test they should request that their test provider includes the sensitivity and specificity of the test on their test result certificate.
Prior to departure, passengers will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to transport operators, as well as their passenger locator form. Carriers may deny boarding to those who do not have a negative test result. The UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrival into England, with passengers who arrive at the border without proof of a negative result subject to an immediate £500 fine.
A limited number of exemptions will be in place, including but not exclusive to children under the age of 11, hauliers – to allow the free flow of freight – and air, international rail and maritime crew. Passengers who fail to complete a test, without a reasonable excuse, will commit a criminal offence and face a £500 fine.
There will also be exceptions for passengers travelling from countries without the infrastructure to deliver an adequate test, including St Helena, Ascension Island and the Falklands. Short term temporary exceptions will apply to four additional destinations so that Britons are able to return home.
The current advice for those across the UK remains that you must stay at home and not travel abroad unless it is for a permitted exempt reason. For people arriving from countries not on the Travel Corridor list, they will still be required to complete a mandatory self-isolation period, and the Travel Corridors list is regularly reviewed to manage the risk of imported cases of COVID-19 from high-risk countries.
Passengers still have the option to reduce their self-isolation period as part of the Test to Release scheme launched last month, unless they have been in South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Zambia or Zimbabwe in the 10 days prior to their arrival in England.
All travellers will still be required to complete a Passenger Locator Form before arrival into England. On arrival into England, Border Force will check passengers’ test certificates and Passenger Locator Forms through the current spot check regime.