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UK slashes price of COVID-19 tests for international travellers, including those from India

With this, the international travellers from India will have to pay 68 pounds ($94). Prior to August 8, international travellers from India had to pay 88 pounds per test.

August 15, 2021 / 09:04 PM IST
Representative Image

Representative Image

United Kingdom has reduced the cost of COVID-19 tests for international travellers from countries on its Amber list, including India which moved from its red list on August 8.

With this, the international travellers from India will have to pay 68 pounds ($94). Prior to August 8, international travellers from India had to pay 88 pounds per test.

The country also made the changes for passengers from Green list countries or Amber list destinations like India. If they are fully vaccinated, they only need to pay 20 pounds ($27) less per Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. As per the norms, the test must be taken on or before day two after the traveller arrives in England, reported Economic Times.

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For passengers arriving from Amber list countries who are not fully vaccinated, they will have to pay for two tests at a cost of 136 pounds ($188), which was earlier 170 pounds ($235).

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the price reduction does not affect arrivals from Red list countries, or if they purchase a test from a private provider.

The two set of tests are National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace provide COVID-19 tests for international travel. These are unlike normal lateral flow tests (LFT) or PCR ones for people with symptoms.

“I've ordered my department to urgently review the list of private providers on gov.uk to ensure pricing is clearer and transparent," UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on August 14.

"Any provider found to be misleading the public will be kicked off. Too many providers are acting like cowboys and that needs to stop. The public should be allowed to enjoy their summer holidays without having to face excessive costs or anxiety,” he added.

Javid has also announced a "rapid internal review" of prices charged by government-approved companies following the claims holidaymakers are being exploited over private testing. Among other issues, to address discrepancies in testing prices, Javid also commissioned a wider review by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
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