Brits desperate for a summer holiday could use free NHS Covid tests to cut costs

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has suggested that in the future holidaymakers may be allowed to take their free NHS Covid tests on holiday in order to reduce costs.

Rather than PCR tests, which are the established way travellers prove they are negative for Covid, holidaymakers could use rapid 'lateral flow' tests before flying.

PCR tests are considered more accurate as swabs are tested in a laboratory but they are significantly more expensive.

The Transport Secretary indicated that when international flights do return it is likely only PCR tests will initially be allowed, reports the Mirror.

However the Government are looking at ways to increase the affordability of Covid tests for all.

Speaking at an online event hosted by ConservativeHome, Mr Shapps said: "Look, for the time being the PCR test gets us closer to the truth about somebody's Coronavirus and for the time being that's the one that's going to be required."

But he added: "I want to see a properly competitive market, driving down the costs of these tests."

Mr Shapps said that one Covid PCR test provider has cut the cost to £60 a test and another awaiting approval could cost just £45.

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"Some of the higher test costs …turn out to be for full service where people come out to your home to carry out the test.

"I'm going to separate those out, we're going to drive down the cost of tests" he added

However he did envisage a situation potentially where holidaymakers take the lateral flow tests that they "already have access to from home" – referring to the idea as 'bring your own bottle' when you go on holiday."

It is thought that a family of travelling to a "low risk" destination this summer could end up paying £600 for the required tests.

The Transport Secretary would however give no further indication on which countries might be in the "low risk" category.

He said: "I can't put the cart before the horse. I need to see which countries, closer to the earliest possible update to international travel, which is May 17, are in what position."

And he said the first list would not be "set in stone and forever."

"I've set out three specific review dates," he said. "Which are end of June, end of July and October.

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