Travellers returning to Wales to be able to use private Covid testing

International travellers returning to Wales will be offered a wider choice of Covid test providers from September 21.

Welsh residents are currently only able to use NHS PCR tests, except for in special circumstances.

These tests are more expensive than others and must be completed on day two of travellers’ return from overseas travel as well as on day eight for the unvaccinated.

The tests cost £68 each, while private testing in other UK countries is significantly cheaper.

The Welsh government said in a statement it would make the change from September 21 as “new standards and spot checks are being introduced, which will help to address long-standing concerns and issues about the market for PCR tests” for those returning to the UK.

It comes after the Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) made a series of recommendations to the UK Government to further improve the travel testing market.

Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “Given the new regulations and the impact on standards for private tests, we will make changes to the rules to enable people travelling to Wales to book tests with private sector providers, if they wish.

“NHS tests will also continue to be available to book.

“These changes will come into effect from September 21 to coincide with the new standards coming into force in England.

“I welcome the progress that has been made in addressing the significant concerns we have raised with UK Government, especially with the introduction of new regulatory standards on 21 September.

“I also expect further improvements following the publication of the CMA report and acceptance of the recommendations to further improve outcomes.

“It’s important to remember that coronavirus is still with us, and our advice continues to be that people should avoid all non-essential international travel.”