Covid-19: UK to relax testing rules for fully-vaccinated travellers from Feb 11

Currently, international arrivals are required to undergo tests within 48 hours of arriving



Reuters file
Reuters file

By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Mon 24 Jan 2022, 6:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Jan 2022, 9:08 PM

The Boris Johnson government on Monday announced that from 4am GMT on February 11, fully vaccinated international arrivals in England will not need to undergo tests in view of the improved situation related to the Omicron variant in the country.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps told the House of Commons that border testing had “outlived its usefulness”, and said: “What we're doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travellers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated".

Rules will also be eased for unvaccinated travellers, who will no longer have to take a day eight test, but will still need pre-departure and day two tests. Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form, although these would be made "simpler and easier" to complete, Shapps said.

He added that fully-vaccinated travellers will only need to verify their status via a passenger locator form. Vaccinations from 16 more countries - including China and Mexico - would be recognised, meaning vaccinated people from 118 nations would be able to enter England.

Currently, international arrivals are required to undergo tests within 48 hours of arriving, but the new research published last week by trade body Airlines UK and Manchester Airports Group suggested that there is scientific evidence for making testing rules a "thing of the past" for fully-vaccinated travellers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We have, thanks to the tough decisions, the big calls that we made...the most open economy and society in Europe. And although we have to be cautious, we are now moving through the Omicron wave, and you can see the figures are starting to get better”.

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He added: “So what we’re doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travellers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated”.

The relaxation was welcomed by the travel and tourism industry, which is one of the sectors most badly affected by coronavirus lockdown measures.


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