All Covid testing requirements for vaccinated travellers arriving into England are to be scrapped, the government has confirmed.
The “day two” lateral flow test that double-jabbed arrivals must currently take after arrival will no longer be necessary from 4am on 11 February.
“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,” Boris Johnson told Sky News.
“Thanks to the tough decisions - I think people will agree we got the big calls right - we are now moving through the Omicron wave,” added the prime minister. “So what we’re doing on travel to show this country is open for business, people arriving no longer have to take tests if they’ve been double vaccinated.”
The move means that fully vaccinated travellers will be able to enter the country without any need to test before or after their journey.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Making the right calls at the right time on vaccines and boosters means we now have one of the most open travel sectors in the world.
“Scaling back restrictions before half term means a simpler travel experience for passengers, especially the fully vaccinated, and stability for the sector throughout 2022.”
International travel restrictions have been gradually eased in the UK over the past month, following a tightening of the rules at the end of last year in response to the Omicron variant.
Pre-departure tests were dropped for vaccinated travellers on 7 January, while double-jabbed travellers can now take a lateral flow (antigen) test for their “day two” post arrival test, no longer having to quarantine until a negative result is received.
The rules are also being relaxed for unvaccinated arrivals from 11 February, Mr Shapps confirmed.
They must currently present a negative Covid test before departing for the UK; isolate for 10 days on arrival; and take PCR tests within the first two days and on day eight after landing.
However, this is to be stripped back to a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day two after arriving in England.
The Passenger Locator Form will continue to be mandatory for all travellers.
The British travel industry has long been calling for an end to testing for those who are fully vaccinated.
Just this week, the leaders of seven of the biggest airlines serving the UK have asked the health secretary to assure travellers there will be no further “knee-jerk universal testing or hotel quarantine” in response to future Covid variants.
In a joint letter, coordinated by the industry body Airlines UK, they call on Sajid Javid to ensure “restriction-free international travel, at the very least for the fully vaccinated” – including an end to post-arrival tests.
“It is time for passengers and businesses who rely upon the UK’s air connectivity to fully benefit from the same vaccine dividend that has enabled our domestic economy to reopen,” reads the letter.
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