Cost of Covid travel test packages increases by nearly 50 per cent
The cost of Covid travel test packages has increased by nearly 50 per cent despite ministers pledging to drive down prices.
Analysis of the 50 cheapest firms on the Government-approved list shows the average price for a two-swab package has risen from £45 to £63 over a fortnight.
However, this is only the average price as stated on the Government’s website. When users click through to the companies’ websites, the actual average cost of a two-swab package is £121.
The average cost of a two-swab package listed on the Government portal is £171, while the average cost for a single kit is £100
The cheapest two-swab package was £120, but holidaymakers have to travel to Norwich for the deal
This is because many of the prices are wrongly listed, are out of stock or are only available to those willing to travel to one or two locations in the UK. These can be hundreds of miles away, making them impractical for many.
The Mail analysis shows how some firms listed on the portal draw in tourists by claiming to offer the lowest price for tests, but fail to include other costs in the advertised price.
Currently, unjabbed passengers arriving in England from amber countries must take a test before travel and book tests for days two and eight of a ten-day quarantine on arrival. If they are fully vaccinated, as of yesterday, they only have to do one post-arrival test and don’t have to quarantine. They must also take a pre-return test.
The Mail looked at firms recommended by the Government offering day two and day eight test kits.
Travel19 was listed as offering a two-swab home-testing package for £24.99. But when clicking to the company’s website, this price is only available to NHS nurses. The cost for most holidaymakers is in fact £149.99 – six times higher. Anglia DNA Services was yesterday listed as offering two-swab packages from £23.99. But there were no swabs available at this price yesterday.
The cheapest two-swab package was £120, but holidaymakers have to travel to Norwich for the deal.
The average cost of a two-swab package listed on the Government portal is £171, while the average cost for a single kit is £100. On this basis, a family of four faces a bill of at least £400 for post-arrival swabs. Hundreds more pounds could be added for pre-return tests and if the destination country requires a negative result on entry.
It comes after the Mail last week revealed how holidaymakers are facing a lottery when choosing tests from the Government-approved list – with many facing lengthy delays or not being able to reach the company on the phone number or email provided.
Avi Lasarow, boss of testing firm Project Screen by Prenetics, accused rival firms of trying to ‘game the system’, drawing people in with the offer of cheap tests that are difficult to get and then offering more expensive options.
‘They know once people get to their website, they’ll probably stay and pay more for the tests. The Government needs to do more to enforce higher standards of companies who go on their official list.’
Yesterday aviation minister Robert Courts was questioned about the testing system after an urgent question was tabled by Labour
Travel bosses and MPs last week called on Health Secretary Sajid Javid to lead a renewed push to drive down the cost of tests.
Yesterday aviation minister Robert Courts was questioned about the testing system after an urgent question was tabled by Labour.
He said ‘the cost of testing has been coming down’, adding: ‘The list of providers is continuously reviewed by the [health department] and they do have a rolling programme and do take action if providers are not delivering what they promised.’