THE price of Covid PCR tests could soar to HUNDREDS as it is warned private companies will raise their prices.
Some firms have already began to hike prices – which currently begin around £40, up to more than £150 – in the wake of impending new Covid rules.
The pre-Christmas clampdown is in response to the worrying new Omicron variant of the bug, which is feared to spread extremely fast as to see if it “blunts” vaccine effectiveness.
The new rules, announced by Boris Johnson last night, say passengers arriving into the UK from abroad must take a PCR test by the end of their second day and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
There are fears the new raft of rules could put a stop to pre-Christmas travel.
But a former travel chief has warned private firms who flog the tests to returning travellers will hike up prices to match demand.
Increased costs could see the prices catapulted into the hundreds, The Sun understands.
Speaking to The Telegraph, former Virgin Atlantic executive Paul Charles – who is now chief exec of London-based travel consultancy the PC Agency – said “you can guarantee” private companies will up costs.
He said: “The test providers are in the private sector and they are basing their prices on demand.
“If demand goes up, they will put their prices up.”
He added that there is no regulation and the industry is “worth well over a billion pounds”.
Mr Charles added he fears that pre-Christmas travel could be totally “wiped out” by the new rules.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid vowed to remove “cowboy” test suppliers from Government websites if the prices advertised were lower than the final cost.
He said he would not stand for private firms “taking advantage” of holidaymakers.
t comes as the third case of the Omnicron variant was confirmed by health chiefs today.
There were extensive contact tracing efforts in Westminster after it emerged the latest confirmed case had visited before leaving the UK.
But Health Secretary Sajid Javid dismissed calls for a further lockdown.
Meanwhile the UK Health Security Agency warned it was “very likely” further Omicron cases will be discovered in the coming days.
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