Every traveller coming into UK must have negative Covid test or face £500 fine as Brits abroad face scramble to get home
ALL international passengers coming into the UK will have to show a negative coronavirus test before they enter under new plans coming into force next week.
Passengers – including homecoming Brits – will have to get a test up to 72 hours before they travel and show a certificate to enter the country.
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The test will be checked when they check-in with their airline, train company or ferry before they travel.
Those who refuse won’t be allowed to travel.
If someone does smuggle themselves into the UK they will be subject to a £500 fine.
The Sun understands carriers will also be fined if officials find out that they have not been checking for negative test certificates.
It means around 100,000 Brits currently away in holiday hotspots such as Dubai and the Maldives would have to find Covid tests overseas before being able to return home.
Hauliers though will be exempt from the new rules.
The tough new measures are designed to help stop the spread of mutant variants of the virus, while testing for entry schemes have been used in other countries during the pandemic.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultants The PC Agency, said:“While inbound testing is vital to help reduce infection rates in the UK, many travellers overseas may find it hard to get test results in the 72 hours before their flight.
"Facilities are not yet designed for the demand.
“We need to see an end date for these restrictions so that consumers are not put off booking travel for future trips.”
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions.
“Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.”
Children under 11 will also be exempt from getting a test, as will crew and those travelling from countries without testing infrastructures.
The new test for entrance will run alongside the travel corridor scheme, meaning tests are still required even if passengers are coming from a country where quarantine is not required.
It comes as England has imposed a travel ban of large parts of Africa to prevent the spread of a new strain of Covid.
A dozen countries on the continent have had strict restrictions placed on travel meaning non Brits will be barred from entry to the UK.
Transport chiefs have imposed the blackout bans because of fears over the new strain found in South Africa last month.
Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “very worried” about the new variant.
And experts even shared fears the new vaccines could be ineffective on the South African strain.
Brits and residents will be allowed home but will have to self-isolate for ten days when they arrive.
Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola – as well as Seychelles and Mauritius – will be placed under the restrictions, which also applies to travellers who passed through those nations in the last ten days.
A South African travel ban has also been extended for another two weeks when these measures will be reviewed.
All usual exemptions, including the ‘test and release’ scheme will not apply, and even those sharing households with arrivals will need to ensure they self-isolate.
All the new restrictions kick in at 4am on Saturday.
Unrelated to the new variant, Israel has been removed from the UK's safe list.
Under new lockdown rules in England, people are barred from travelling abroad unless absolutely necessary for work.
Speaking to ITV earlier this week, Michael Gove hinted measures on "how we will make sure that our ports and airports are safe" will come into effect shortly.
He said: "It is already the case that there are significant restrictions on people coming into this country and of course we're stressing that nobody should be travelling abroad."
It comes as another terrifying mutant Covid variant, originating in the southeast of England, tears through the UK.
Today alone, as the mutant strain spreads through Britain, 1,162 more deaths were confirmed alongside 52,618 new infections.
Boris Johnson tonight unveiled plans to defeat the virus with "battle preparation techniques to help us keep up the pace" the PM laid out his plan for how to get there.
A new national booking service for people to be vaccinated will also be unveiled – and no one will have to travel more than ten miles to get one, the PM added.
Speaking at a press conference tonight, he announced that GP-led vaccine sites providing jabs will increase to over 1,000 by the end of next week, and promised hundreds of thousands of doses every day.
And he insisted he had "no doubt" that there would be enough supply to offer everyone in the top four vulnerable groups a vaccine by his February 15 deadline.
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