FAMILIES going on holiday abroad this summer could be given free Covid testing packs to allow Brits to avoid expensive travel restrictions.
The new plans being suggested will let holidaymakers take a lateral flow test in a foreign country, making it both easier and cheaper to return to the UK.
A new scheme could let Brits take free Covid testing kits on holidayCredit: Alamy
However, families will still have to pay for a PCR test when back in the country, as lateral flow tests cannot detect variants, and will cost around £50 per person.
Whitehall sources are looking at launching the fast-result tests in time for the summer holidays, according to the Mail Online.
The UK government is to announce which countries will be placed on the “green list” this Friday, which will allow Brits to go on holiday from May 17 without having to quarantine on their return.
Green countries will only require two tests, one before arrival and one on day two of being back in the UK.
The new Covid pack could allow Brits to get their pre-arrival test for free, but will still need to pay for their second test.
Portugal may also get the nod, but holiday favourites Spain and Greece will have to likely wait until a review in June, sources say.
It’s understood the small green list is also likely to include Gibraltar, Malta, Israel and Iceland.
Families could be given free Covid tests, similar to the lateral flow packages currently on offerCredit: Getty
Tests will be needed for all destinations
Only a few countries are likely to be on the green list from May 17
It could make holidays abroad to low-risk destinations much easierCredit: Alamy
Most of Europe is likely to be on the “amber list” meaning people can visit but they will have to quarantine for ten days when they return to the UK.
But insiders think most top destinations including France will be given the green travel go ahead by the school summer holidays in July.
The Foreign Office has begun downgrading strict travel for some of the popular holiday islands, giving hope they too will soon be given the green light for travel.
Government no longer advises against travel to the Spanish Canary Islands, and the Greek Islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu and Crete.
Brits may also need paper vaccine passports as the NHS app may not be ready in time for holidays.
The certificates could be used from May 17 – the date the travel ban could be lifted – because of delays rolling out the scheme digitally.
But only Greece has confirmed it will accept paper certificates amid fears that paper Covid passports can be easily forged.
The Portuguese government has said it will only accept a digital pass while Spain is in talks with Downing Street for a “mutually recognisable” app.
Greece is already welcoming vaccinated Brits back, while Portugal has said they will welcome vaccinated tourists from mid-May, or when the UK travel restrictions are lifted.
New proposals, to be discussed, would mean foreign citizens who are fully vaccinated or from countries with a “good epidemiological situation” would be allowed to travel.