Do I need a negative Covid test to fly into the UK? New rules explained

The UK has finally, long behind most other countries in the world, made it mandatory to have proof of a negative coronavirus test before entering the country. The current lockdown means any unnecessary travel is completely banned, and the public is ordered to stay-at-home as much as possible.

Boris Johnson said: “In protecting the UK from transmission from abroad, we will bring in measures to ensure that we test people coming into this country and prevent the virus from being readmitted.”

Called Test and Release, passengers affected by the new rule will need to show a negative test certificate before being allowed to board trains, ferries or planes onto UK soil.

The aviation industry began calling for mandatory testing at airports more than nine months ago, and the Government is finally listening to the plea.

In September, the Prime Minister repeatedly dismissed the need for testing at airports and by airlines but has appeared to make another coronavirus policy U-turn.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “This country already has some of the strongest safeguards against importing Covid-19 in the shape of mandatory 10-day quarantine for the vast majority of arrivals, and Test to Release.

“Additional measures, including testing before departure, will help keep the importation of new cases to an absolute minimum, while national lockdown and vaccination take effect.”

Heathrow airport tweeted: “We continue to request that the UK government establish a common international standard for pre-departure testing to ensure safer travel to and from all destinations.”