Travel latest news: Britons face Covid testing hurdles for Spain holidays

Travel latest news: Britons face Covid testing hurdles for Spain holidays

Many EU governments oppose common rules on the use of rapid Covid-19 tests, an internal document seen by Reuters says, in a new blow to airlines which are betting on fast-track testing to help bring the travel industry back to life.

Airlines are pressing governments for alternatives to blanket curbs on movement amid a second wave of Covid-19 sweeping Europe, with Lufthansa and Alitalia spearheading the use of rapid antigen tests.

But many EU governments are not ready for common procedures on the tests which would help ease travel across Europe, according to the document prepared by the German government, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

“A large number of member states made clear that discussions on common minimum standards and criteria were premature,” the paper, dated November 12, says.

The document will be on the table when EU leaders discuss coordination in fighting the pandemic in a video conference on Thursday. Rapid antigen kits are less accurate than standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, but can offer results in a few minutes, as opposed to days. European airlines are using them on passengers before departure, allowing only those who test negative to travel. But the testing is largely limited to domestic flights, partly because of European countries’ reluctance to apply consistent rules.

Some governments seek more scientific evidence behind rapid testing, the German document says. Many say testing is a national issue for which there is no need for a common approach, the document says without naming any state.

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