British holidaymakers could be given free NHS lateral flow devices before they travel abroad – to be used for testing before they return to the UK.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has described the plan as “a Covid version of bring your own bottle when you go on holiday”.
At present all overseas holidays are illegal. But the UK government hopes to introduce allow non-essential travel to begin on 17 May. When it begins, every returning traveller will need to take a Covid test before departure back to the UK, as well as at least one PCR test on arrival.
At a ConservativeHome aviation event, Mr Shapps said that British people going on holiday may be able to pack a free lateral flow device.
“We’re looking at things like whether people can take their tests away and therefore not incur additional costs to take that first test,” he said.
The transport secretary said it would reduce one of the barriers to travel.
“With the interest of the aviation sector in my heart as much as for the rest of the country, we’ve got to [open up travel] safely and we’ve got to do it once and for all,” he said.
“And if that errs on, ‘Look, you need a couple of tests and one of them is a lateral flow test and it’s free, then people are used to taking tests now…