Britain’s competition watchdog recently said it will look into the cost of COVID-19 testing for travellers after Health Secretary Sajid Javid complained that high prices for the government-mandated tests were preventing some people from going on vacation.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests required for most travellers average about GBP75 each, or GBP300 for a family of four, but many firms charge significantly more. Prices quoted by providers listed on the government website range from GBP17 pounds to GBP250.
Javid said he asked the Competition and Markets Authority to crackdown on “unfair market practices” by test providers.
“People should be able to go on holiday, whether it’s to see family or just to relax, without fearing excessive fees for PCR tests,’’ he said on Twitter.
The watchdog has the authority to intervene directly when it uncovers unfair practices but it can also provide advice directly to ministers so they can take swifter action.
“We are aware of concerns about the evolving markets for COVID-19 tests for international travellers,” the agency said.
“We look forward to providing the Secretary of State with advice on how best to ensure that travellers have access to tests that are affordable and reliable.”
Health officials, meanwhile, gave Pfizer coronavirus shots on Sunday at a pop-up vaccination centre that was set up for the first time in an entertainment venue.
The centre in London is part of an effort aimed at encouraging young people to get vaccinated.