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22 million people priced out of travel by Covid-19 testing

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Millions of Brits have been forced to give up on their dreams of foreign travel this year, with the added costs of Covid-19 testing seeing many unable to afford to go abroad.

Research by online doctor service Zava found that one in 10 who did take tests were unable to travel having tested positive, not receiving results back in time, or because they bought the test from an unofficial testing service.

The study found that those people who have enjoyed a holiday since the pandemic outbreak in March 2020 have paid an additional £195 per person in order to secure their fit to travel certificates.

Holidaymakers have also had to contend with the administrative challenges of travelling. For one in three (37%), finding a reputable testing provider has caused confusion, while nearly half (44%) have been flummoxed by the government’s traffic light system.

There were several changes to the country classifications this week with seven countries added to the green list, France removed from amber plus, four countries added to the amber list, and four added to the red list.

The combination of cost and additional stress factors has ultimately put half (56%) of adults off travelling abroad at all, with 49% also fearful that they’ll contract Covid-19 abroad or get stuck in a country if it changes status on the government’s traffic light system (65%).

Dr Babak Ashrafi from online doctor Zava said: “Travelling is one freedom that many of us Brits have sorely missed, be it to reunite with friends and family members, or just for a break. In fact, a third (36%) of us understandably believe that we deserve a foreign holiday after such a difficult year.

“But it’s important to take the care and time to fully understand the obligatory testing procedures we need to undertake, buy from reputable government-backed programmes, and be vigilant against Covid-19 related scams. This will ensure, we as a nation, can return to travel safely and minimise as much stress as possible.”

Travellers arriving in England can choose from private suppliers, with prices as low as £25 for a Covid PCR test. However, Wales and Scotland use a different system where private tests are not permitted. As a result, people flying into Wales or Scotland have to pay £88 for one test if they are coming from a green list country and £170 for two tests if they have been to an amber list country.