London, Jan 9 (IANS) All international travellers, including British nationals, will require a negative coronavirus test from next week onwards to be allowed to enter England and Scotland, the UK government announced.
The test will have to be taken up to 72 hours before their departure and failure to comply will result in an immediate fine of 500 pounds ($678), Xinhua news agency quoted a government statement as saying on Friday.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said all inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test.
“We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions,” Shapps said.
“Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence, helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks,” he said.
There will be a limited number of exemptions to the new requirements, including for hauliers, children under 11, crews and for those who travel from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver the tests.
There will also be no need for pre-departure testing for arrivals from the Common Travel Area with Ireland.
Meanwhile, passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list will need to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their pre-departure test result, according to the government statement.
The new rules currently only apply to England and Scotland.
The UK Department for Transport is said to be working with the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland to roll out similar measures.
On Friday, the country reported 1,162 new coronavirus-related deaths, the highest single-day spike since April 21, 2020.
This brought the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 79,965.
The UK also recorded another 52,618 coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to 2,966,235.