Passengers arriving in England will be required to take pre-flight Covid tests (Image: Getty Images)
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Brits returning from abroad will face £500 fines if they arrive in the UK without a negative coronavirus test.
All international arrivals, including UK citizens, will be required to get tested up to 72 hours before entering England, whether by plane, boat or train.
Passengers will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to carriers prior to departure, as well as filling in a Passenger Locator Form.
Border officials will then conduct spot checks on arrivals in England, who will be asked to prove they have a recent negative Covid result – or face immediate fines.
The Department for Transport said the measures would begin "next week" but it was unable to say exactly when the rules would come into force.
International travel is banned under the lockdown rules, except for limited exemptions
(Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Eleven countries added to UK travel ban list over South Africa Covid strain fears
There will be a limited number of exemptions, including hauliers, children under 11, crews and for those who travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver the tests.
Passengers arriving from countries not on the travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for ten days – regardless of their test result.
This can be shorted to five days if they have a private test after returning home, under the so-called test and release scheme introduced in December.
Pre-flight test rules will only apply in England at present but talks are understood to be ongoing with the devolved administrations.
The rules do not apply across the Common Travel Area, which covers the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
However they will extend to the Overseas Territories such as the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar.
The new rules come amid growing fears of the spread of new coronavirus strains in South Africa and Denmark.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions.
Passengers face £500 fines for not following the rules
(Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
“Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.”
International travel is banned under England's latest lockdown rules except for limited circumstances such as work.
But Brits who travelled abroad for Christmas will be impacted by the new rules.
It comes as travellers from nine southern African countries and the Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles and Mauritius will be forced to quarantine on return to the UK from 4am on Saturday.