The competition watchdog was today urged to stop Wild West testing firms hiking the price of PCR tests to exploit a loophole that allows travellers to take a swab as soon as they land at the airport.
There are fears people being tested at the moment of arrival could be unknowingly carrying Covid-19 even if they test negative, because the virus will not have had to time to incubate. In addition, travellers will be allowed to go home on public transport and mix with hundreds of people before receiving their result.
Today it emerged that nearly a quarter of the government-listed private Covid test providers are charging £100 or more for PCR tests for UK arrivals – which is more than a cost of a flight to many of Europe’s most popular winter destinations.
Travel expert Paul Charles, from the PC Agency, suggested regulators should intervene to stop providers hiking prices further. He told MailOnline: ‘I think you’re going to see prices rising based on demand.
‘I think it’s important for the Competition Commission to step in and say they are monitoring providers prices so we don’t get into a situation where they are having to react after the event.
‘There’s a lot of concern about the testing industry any and the lack of oversight. Their track record is not a brilliant one and we know consumers are being hit by Wild West tactics and the service quality has sometimes been suspect.’
Meanwhile, Labour MP Yvette Cooper called the new testing requirement ‘insufficient’ because it ‘left too many gaps in the system’.
‘People can still travel on busy planes, wait in busy departure or arrival halls, then travel home on buses, trains or the tube, all without being tested at all,’ she said.