PCR tests must be made cheaper to help to protect the UK against Covid variants, MPs demanded last night.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus also called for automatic e-gates at airports to be upgraded to reduce queues and waiting times in arrival halls in the summer holidays.
They said the proposed digital Covid passport for international travel should include test results to reduce the need for paper documents in transport terminals. And they suggested the cost of PCR tests could be lowered by VAT exemptions or price caps.
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP who is vice-chairman of the group, said: ‘The rapid growth of the Delta variant has shown how we must be vigilant against the risks posed by international travel. Yet despite repeated warnings, ministers are still failing to address overcrowding at airports or fake test certificates that are allowing Covid cases to slip through the cracks.
‘Upgrading e-gates and digitising test results would reduce the risk of transmission in airports and ensure we are no longer relying solely on border force officials to spot fraudulent documents. The Government must learn from its mistakes and ensure its border policy is watertight.’
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, the group’s chairman, said: ‘Any digital Covid green pass for international travel should include test results in addition to vaccination status to better defend against new variants.
‘The Government must not yet again allow international travel to jeopardise the hard-won progress we’ve made against the virus. ‘Once this is in place, the Government should also consider measures to reduce the costs of tests such as a VAT exemption or a price cap, as has been done in other European countries.