UK drops pre-departure test for arrivals from Friday

Britain is also lifting requirement to self isolate on arrival


By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 9:01 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 9:14 PM

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced the lifting of the requirement of a pre-departure test for passengers travelling to England from 4 am GMT on Friday and also the dropping of the rule to self-isolate on arrival until the receipt of a negative PCR test.

Johnson told the House of Commons that when the Omicron variant was first identified, his government rightly introduced travel restrictions to slow its arrival in our country.


But now that the variant is so prevalent in the UK, the measures are having limited impact on the growth in cases, while continuing to pose significant costs to the travel industry.

He said: “So I can announce that in England from 4am on Friday we will be scrapping the pre-departure test, which discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense”.

“We will also be lifting the requirement to self-isolate on arrival until receipt of a negative PCR, returning instead to the system we had in October last year, where those arriving in England will need to take a lateral flow test no later than the end of Day 2 and, if positive, a further PCR test to help us identify any new variants at the border”, he added.

For those within the UK who test positive in the lateral flow test, Johnson also announced the suspension of the need to have a PCR test to confirm the result.

“From next Tuesday in England, if you test positive on a lateral flow device, you should just record that result on and begin self-isolating,” he said.

According to Johnson, the UK has the biggest testing programme in Europe, registering almost twice as many tests as France, and four times as many as Germany. In December, 300 million lateral flow devices were distributed.

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