<p>Pre-departure tests are no longer required for the double jabbed </p>

Pre-departure tests are no longer required for the double jabbed

Pre-departure Covid tests for travel scrapped for vaccinated in latest government review

Vaccinated travellers to England permitted take fewer tests and use lateral flows

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 05 January 2022 18:19

Pre-departure Covid tests for travel to England will no longer be required for fully vaccinated arrivals to the UK from Friday, the prime minister has announced.

Boris Johnson has confirmed that from 4am on 7 January, double jabbed travellers and under 18s will no longer have to present a negative coronavirus test result (PCR or lateral flow) on arrival in England.

From the same date and time, those two groups will also no longer have to self-isolate while waiting the results of their “day two” test taken after arrival.

The requirement for double jabbed arrivals to take a PCR test on “day two” after arrival is also set to be axed from this weekend.

From 4am on Sunday, 9 January, the fully vaccinated (and under 18s) can instead take a cheaper lateral flow test within the two-day window, and need not quarantine while they await the result.

“From Friday we will be scrapping the pre-departure test...we will also be lifting the requirement to isolate on arrival,” Mr Johnson said during today’s PMQs.

Although the current easing of restrictions currently only applies to England, it is likely that the governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow suit.

The transport secretary Grant Shapps then confirmed the easement of the testing requirements, tweeting that “these measures are no longer proportionate” now that Omicron “is the dominant variant and is widespread in the UK.”

None of the current travel rules will change for unvaccinated travellers aged 18 and over - they must continue to present a negative pre-departure test, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, and take a PCR test on days two and eight of self-isolation.

This may be reduced to five days’ quarantine in England for those who opt to purchase a third Covid test, taken on day five.

While vaccinated travellers must still pay for their post-arrival test - using free NHS lateral flow tests is not permitted for inbound travel - removing the need for a pre-departure test will save anything from around £20 to $250 (£185) in some cases for travel from the US.

Post-arrival PCR tests currently cost around £50-£80. The cost is likely to halve.

The easing of rules will see inbound travel restrictions return to what they were between 24 October and 30 November last year.

The reintroduction of pre-departure testing was in response to the threat of the Omicron variant; now that it is prevalent in the UK, the travel industry has long been calling for the government to lift onerous restrictions for inbound tourists.

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