New rules requiring international travellers to take a pre-departure Covid test before arriving in England will be delayed until the early hours of Monday.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said last night the delay will give passengers more time to prepare.

The rules were originally due to be introduced at 4am tomorrow.

“To give international arrivals more times to prepare, passengers will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure to England from Monday 18 January at 4am,” he said on Twitter.

“Passengers must remember to complete a Passenger Locator Form before arriving back into England. Anyone without proof of a negative test face fines of £500.”

The Department for Transport also published more details of the test requirements, setting out that they must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.

Assuming the test meets those specifications, travellers can take a PCR, LAMP or antigen test, the DfT said.

People returning from St Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda will be exempt from the new rules until 21 January due to a lack of testing facilities on the Caribbean islands.

The regulations also apply to returning UK nationals, but not to those entering from Ireland, any other part of the UK, the Falkland Islands, Ascension and St Helena.