Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has confirmed that travellers returning to England from October 24 will be able to take lateral flow tests instead of more expensive PCR tests.

Last month the government announced that Day 2 PCR testing requirements would be replaced with lateral flow testing “by the end of October”, but an exact date had not been specified.

This has now confirmed as being Sunday October 24, which should allow travellers returning from half term holidays to take advantage of the new rules.

In a tweet posted late last night (Thursday October 14), Shapps said:

“Mandatory PCR tests will be gone in time for October half-term! 👍🏻 for vaccinated adults and families seeking some winter sun abroad ❄️☀️

“From 24 Oct take a cheaper lateral flow test on return, to make travelling easier and simpler for everyone 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦”

Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to take a photo of their lateral flow test to upload for verification.

Commenting on the news, Airport Operators Association CEO Karen Dee, said:

“This is good news for families travelling abroad during the upcoming half-term holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It should reduce the complexity of post-travel testing and we urge testing companies to pass on the savings of using cheaper lateral flow tests in full to customers.

“Unfortunately, this change has come too late for the half-term holidays in Scotland, impacting the passenger recovery at Scottish airports. It demonstrates the continuing financial impact travel restrictions have on airports and an Aviation Recovery Package should be put in place by the UK and devolved governments urgently.

“Ultimately, aviation should return to normal, with no additional tests or other requirements. Great strides have been made in recent weeks, but we are not there yet. We will continue to work with the UK and devolved governments to achieve test-free travel in the future, just as our European competitors have.”

The news follows the reduction in the UK’s “red list” from 52 to just seven countries earlier this week.

Travel red list cut to seven countries