Fully vaccinated holidaymakers will soon be able to take lateral flow coronavirus tests on their return to England instead of PCR tests.
The change from more expensive PCR tests to cheaper and quicker lateral flow tests will only apply to countries not on the red list, and will come into force from October 24.
It will mean that those who have received both doses of a vaccine and most under-18s can take a lateral flow test on or before day two of their arrival into the UK.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the move would help make international travel “easier” again.
He told Times Radio: “I think it’s important that we have a system in place which is straightforward.
“That’s why we’re moving from PCR to lateral flow, hoping to bring down the cost. Another step to opening up international travel.”
Shapps also defended the use of lateral flow tests instead of PCRs, saying they were “more accurate than people thought”.
“I think that, combined with the fact that the answer is instant and you’re not necessarily wandering around for a day or two, waiting for that result come back, means that this will be a robust system in place and it’s another step to making international travel easier again,” he said.
Passengers who are not fully vaccinated and are returning from a non-red country must still take a pre-departure test, a PCR test on day two and day eight, and complete 10 days self-isolation, with the option of coming out of isolation with a test on day five.
Shapps admitted that the use of day two lateral flow tests would be “based on trusts”, with holidaymakers verifying their tests by sending in a photograph of the result.
Asked on Sky News how the tests would be verified, he said: “In this world nothing is 100%, and until now we haven’t been requiring any verification.
“Of course the system requires people to be honest, like so many laws in this country.
“We ask people not to do things and put societal restrictions on people, and we don’t have a policeman on every corner and in every home to make sure people aren’t breaking the law.”
Earlier this week the UK cut the number of countries on its red list from 52 to just seven, while the amber and green lists were scrapped.