MPs have called for PCR travel tests to be scrapped for the fully vaccinated after official data showed just four in a thousand bring Covid back to the UK.
Only 0.4 per cent of double-jabbed Brits returning from abroad at the end of July had contracted the virus.
Holidaymakers who had only had one dose were twice as likely to be infected (0.8 per cent) while just 1.2 per cent of unvaccinated travellers had Covid.
It means even among unvaccinated people, the proportion of people testing positive — around one in 83 — is less than the general population in England and Wale, which saw around one in 80 catch the virus last week according to the Office for National Statistics
But part of the reason for PCR testing is also to stop variants coming into the country.
And four in 1,000 positive tests for double jabs still equates to 400 infected people arriving in the UK every day.
The data from Government accredited diagnostics company Cignpost — which is being studied by Health Secretary Sajid Javid — is based on the private firm’s 11,000 tests on arrivals a day.
It has prompted calls for No10 to replace costly PCR tests for travellers who have had both doses of the jab to amber and green countries with cheaper lateral flow swabs.
International travellers arriving in England are currently required to test before travel and on arrival in the UK.
The number of tests that are needed is dependent on your arrival from either a green or amber country or your vaccination status. Arrivals from red countries must still use quarantine hotel facilities.
The average cost of a single Covid traveller test remained above £90 — despite a vow two weeks ago by Mr Javid to drive down prices.
MPs have called for PCR travel tests to be scrapped for the fully vaccinated after official data showed just four in a thousand bring Covid back to the UK. Pictured: A woman receives a PCR test
Only 0.4 per cent of double-jabbed Brits returning from abroad at the end of July had contracted the virus, according to data from Cignpost [stock image]
Conservative chairman of the all-party Future of Aviation group Henry Smith said the data shows PCR tests for amber and green countries should be ditched for the fully-vaccinated.
He told the Telegraph: ‘The data really makes the case for a much simpler and straightforward testing regime.’
But lateral flow tests have higher rates of false positives, according to Cignpost.
Figures show they can miss up to 40 per cent of asymptomatic Covid carriers.
Cignpost founder Nick Markham said the company recorded positive tests in 10 per cent of arrivals from India in April — when the Delta variant began to take hold in the UK — despite flyers taking lateral flow tests before travel.
He said: ‘PCR tests are more accurate so they capture those cases that antigen will miss.
‘You can also sequence PCR tests which you cannot do with antigen and this gives you an early indication if there are new variants of concern out there.’
This graphic shows the basic process of a PCR test for coronavirus
It comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned PCR test providers they are breaking the law with misleading pricing and delays in giving results.
The CMA said it is ready to take enforcement action over a range of dodgy practices that cause misery for holidaymakers.
The behaviours include hidden charges and advertising cheap tests which are only actually available in very small quantities or are not available at all.
It also insisted it will not tolerate failure to give results within promised timescales, and refusing to provide consumers with refunds where tests are not provided on schedule.
The Government announced this week that 82 companies face being removed from the Gov.uk list if they advertise misleading prices.
An open letter from the CMA tells providers that if they treat customers unfairly then it or Trading Standards can take action.
They must ‘immediately review their practices and policies to make sure they are in line with the requirements of consumer law and to make any changes where necessary’.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is ready to take enforcement action over a range of dodgy practices that cause misery for holidaymakers. Pictured, Heathrow airport
CMA general counsel Sarah Cardell said: ‘PCR test providers should be in no doubt that they need to get on the right side of the law. If they don’t, they risk enforcement action.
‘Our advice today will also help people by setting out exactly what they should expect for their money.
‘This warning goes hand in hand with action taken by Government this week, and is the latest step in our work to tackle rip-off prices and bad service.
‘We continue to work closely with DHSC in reviewing this market and will be providing further advice to DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) on action that can be taken.’
Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: ‘This intervention from the regulator is positive news; however, this laundry list of problems has left travellers struggling for months to choose a trustworthy, reliable test provider and having to pay the financial penalty when things go wrong.
‘The Government must act swiftly to remove test providers misleading customers from its site, while the CMA must be prepared to take tough action against any firms flouting the rules.’