Travellers find loophole to skip UK PCR tests

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Travellers find loophole to skip UK PCR tests
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Travellers find a loophole to skip PCR tests when heading into the UK.

Holidaymakers heading into Britain have found a loophole that allows them to avoid having a PCR test. The UK has ramped up requirements for travellers in a bid to prevent the omicron coronavirus variant from spreading.

According to The I, travellers have discovered a loophole that allows them to re-enter old booking reference codes for PCR tests. The reference codes are used when completing a passage locater form. Reportedly holidaymakers have managed to use this loophole to skip PCR tests and also quarantine.

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Anyone entering the UK must undergo a PCR test. A passenger locator form must also be completed. This includes adding booking reference codes for PCR tests. Anyone providing false information deliberately on the form is committing a criminal offence.

The loophole has been reported already according to Natalie Kenny, CEO of PCR test provider BioGrad Diagnostics speaking to The I. She commented: “These people are about to get on airplane with loads of other people and have no intention of doing any testing.”

The UK Health Security Agency commented on the reuse of codes. The agency stated: “There are legitimate reasons why an individual might re-use a code, such as last-minute changes to travel plans.


“Re-use of codes accounts for only a very small number of cases, and UKHSA has systems in place to detect and prevent the small proportion of re-use believed to be illegitimate.”


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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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