Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation

LTIO responds to Government scrapping of PCR travel testing requirements

A spokesperson for the LTIO said:

“We do not support the decision by the Government to scrap PCR testing for pre-departure tests and Day 2 tests.

“We strongly believe that PCR tests are the best way to protect our population from the dangers of COVID-19, especially to detect new variants that could be brought into the UK from those travelling from abroad.

“That is not just our view, but the view of Dr Jenny Harries, the CEO of UKHSA, who told the Transport Select Committee that travel PCR tests meant that they ‘found Omicron very quickly and acted extremely quickly’. She added that ‘a PCR test allow us to sequence that test and therefore keep an eye on other variants that might pop up as well. This is why it is quite critical to the health security of the nation’.

“We recognise that Lateral Flow tests are a cheaper and faster test that can also be a useful tool in managing an infectious population. However, at this crucial stage in the pandemic, we do not believe now is the right time to scrap travel PCR tests.

“We are also very concerned about the potential for major disruption for those arriving in the UK by switching back to Lateral Flow tests by Sunday at 4am, especially for passengers trying rebook new tests.

“The laboratory and testing industry will work hard to make this transition as smooth as possible for customers, but that is likely to be extremely tricky without a sensible transition period.”

A link to the Transport Select Committee reference follows: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/3212/pdf/