The British transport secretary announced on Tuesday that the two-week quarantine period for those arriving in England could be shortened to five days if they pay for a private COVID-19 test and the result comes back negative.

The “test to release” scheme will come into effect on Dec. 15. The coronavirus tests will most likely cost between £65 ($86.6) and £120 ($160).

Grant Shapps said: “We have a plan in place to ensure that our route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster international travel while keeping the public safe.

“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business. By giving people the choice to test on day five, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine, which was declared 90% effective in some cases on Monday, only reached that level of efficacy due to the “serendipity” of a mistake that gave trial participants half a dose before another full dose a month later.

The vaccine originally had an overall 70% efficacy rate, but giving a half dose followed by a full dose boosted the efficacy rate to 90%.

Professor Sarah Gilbert from Oxford University, who led the research, said: “It could be that by giving a small amount of the vaccine to start with and following up with a big amount, that’s a better way of kicking the immune system into action and giving us the strongest immune response and the most effective immune response.”

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “What we don’t know at this moment is whether that difference is in the quality or the quantity of immune response. And that’s something we’re going to be digging into over the next weeks.”

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