U.K. Covid Testing Companies Face Removal Over Misleading Prices
(Bloomberg) -- Almost a fifth of companies advertising Covid-19 tests for travelers returning to the U.K. from abroad face removal from the government’s list of providers over misleading prices, the health department said.
Some 82 private travel testing companies will be issued a two-strike warning and could be removed from the government’s website, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said on Monday in an emailed statement.
Javid earlier this month asked the U.K.’s competition watchdog to probe testing companies in order to help stamp out any “exploitative behavior” by rogue firms. Monday’s action marks a clamp-down on “cowboy” practices, Javid said. His department said that as part of the ongoing review, “regular spot checks will be introduced from this week to make sure companies are complying with the rules.”
The GOV.UK site will also be updated this week to reflect the true cost of travel tests this week, it said. Fifty-seven companies will be removed from the list because they no longer exist or don’t provide relevant services.
People returning to England from a countries deemed at lower risk must take a Covid-19 test before departure and book a test for day two after arrival. People headed to and from the U.K. by air spent at least 380 million pounds ($520 million) on tests in the first six months of the year, based on a Bloomberg analysis of passenger traffic data from the Civil Aviation Authority and London Heathrow airport.
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