The MP for Bracknell has called for the costs of coronavirus tests to be reduced so that there can be more international travel.

James Sunderland, the MP for Bracknell, has spoken to the Local Democracy Service and in Parliament on the issue of opening up international travel, which he says is vital for businesses in Bracknell and Wokingham.

In particular, he has called for a uniform policy for coronavirus tests for those travelling abroad to bring costs down.

According to the Government website, PCR tests can cost anywhere from £19 to a whopping £575 depending on the provider of the test.

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Arguing for price controls for tests, Mr Sunderland said: ‘’I have always been clear that we must support our travel and leisure industry, we have many constituents who work for aviation, travel and leisure companies.

“Unfortunately I have received many letters from constituents about the cost of Covid testing and this must not become a barrier to families being able to go on holiday and for business people to travel.

“Even though Covid restrictions have been removed we must all act responsibly and testing for travel is still required to ensure that new variants are identified quickly so that appropriate action can be  taken. However, the cost of the tests are high and I have asked the Government to consider a uniform policy to get the cost down.’’

Bracknell News: James Sunderland | via Creative Commons | London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAVJames Sunderland | via Creative Commons | London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAV

If you want to go to a green list country, you have to take a test while your there, then book a ‘day two covid-19 test’ to take once you’ve arrived in England. You must then take that test on or before day two after you arrive. You only have to quarantine if you test positive, or if NHS Test & Trace tells you that you’ve travelled to England with someone who has tested positive.

Green list destinations at the time of writing include Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.

Amber list rules vary depending on whether you are vaccinated or not.

If you have been fully vaccinated, meaning you have had both doses of your vaccine, you have to take a Covid-19 travel test on or before day two after you arrive (the day you arrive is day zero). You don’t have to quarantine on arrival to England.

However, if you have only received your first dose or have not been vaccinated, you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days, and take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight of your arrival, with children aged four and under exempted from these tests.

Amber list destinations include the USA, Canada,  Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

Bracknell News: Passengers queue at an airport. James Sunderland has called for covid tests for flyers and other international travellers to be brought down. Credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.Passengers queue at an airport. James Sunderland has called for covid tests for flyers and other international travellers to be brought down. Credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.

Mr Sunderland also called for the Government to take more risk and open up international travel during an appearance in Parliament on Tuesday, July 13.

He said: “I welcome the step 4 announcement [that there would be no delay to ‘Freedom Day], and would urge that the Secretary of State and his Department should embrace a bit more risk by working with the Department for Transport to open up the international travel sector fully.’’

He was questioning the Health Minister Sajid Javid, who highlighted that the Government removed the need for fully vaccinated people to quarantine on arrival from amber list countries.

Mr Javid, who is also the MP for Bromsgrove, said: “I am pleased to say that, now that we have begun the process of opening up, more work is being done between the Department of Health and the Department for Transport on international travel.  The recent announcements made by the Transport Secretary will certainly help and be welcomed by the travel sector and travellers.”

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The UK Government advises against travel to red list destinations. You will only be allowed to re-enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK.

Anyone returning from these places must take a test and book a quarantine hotel and two tests to be taken in the hotel.

Red list destinations include Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.

Children aged 10 and under are exempt from these tests.