PEOPLE arriving in Wales from overseas will no longer have to take a PCR coronavirus test if they have been fully vaccinated.

Instead, they can take a cheaper lateral flow test on or before day two of their arrival in the UK.

If that lateral flow test is positive, however, they will still have to isolate for 10 days and take a follow-up PCR test.

The rule change moves Wales in line with the rest of the UK, and will come into effect on Sunday, October 31. It follows concerns over the high costs of privately-arranged PCR tests for travellers.

But the Welsh health minister, Eluned Morgan, said she remained "concerned" about the UK Government’s approach and the "speed" international travel was being resumed, especially over worries of new Covid-19 variants that may be imported from overseas.

"We have consistently urged the UK Government to take a precautionary approach towards reopening international travel," she said, adding that Westminster's system "lacks oversight and standards".


However, it is "difficult" for the Welsh Government to adopt a different international travel system from Westminster, mainly because the vast majority of people who arrive in Wales from other countries do so by flying, or sailing, to ports in England.

A Wales-only system would cause logistical issues and confusion, Ms Morgan acknowledged, but the Welsh Government continues to ask people to "only travel for essential reasons".

On Wales adopting the rules, she added: "We have reached this decision by balancing the public health needs with those of the travel sector against a backdrop of the increasing opening up of international travel.

"Having considered the implications in detail, I have reluctantly decided that for practical reasons close alignment with the UK Government’s arrangements is the most viable option."

How will the new testing system work?

People who arrive in the UK will need to take a lateral flow test – the kind which can be done at home and normally produce a result within 30 minutes – within 48 hours of their arrival.

The tests must be booked privately and people cannot use the free NHS lateral flow tests for this purpose. Travellers will also have to show that they have booked a test before they make their journey to the UK.

Travellers take their test at home and send a photograph of their result to their private test provider. It is now an offence in Wales for people to falsify a lateral flow test result.

If the result is negative, people can carry on as normal and there is no need to isolate. But if it is positive, they must isolate for 10 days and book a PCR test with the NHS.

The rules for unvaccinated adults arriving in the UK have not changed. Anyone in this category must take a PCR test before departing and take two further PCR tests when they arrive in the UK and isolate for 10 days.

Anyone travelling to the UK from a red list country will not be affected by the new changes announced today, and must continue to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.