All testing requirements could be axed for vaccinated travellers, according to reports

Restrictions could be lifted in time for half-term holidays

Helen Coffey
Monday 17 January 2022 09:24 GMT
<p>Lateral flow day two tests could be scrapped </p>

Lateral flow day two tests could be scrapped

All current testing requirements could soon be dropped for fully vaccinated travellers entering the UK, according to reports.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is considering axing tests for double-jabbed arrivals in time for the half-term holidays in February, a government source told The Times.

“We are looking at removing all Covid tests for vaccinated travellers by the end of January,” the unnamed source told the publication.

They added that any announcement is likely to coincide with the review of the Plan B measures in their entirety, slated for 26 January.

Half-term holidays will run from Monday 14 to Friday 18 February in England and Wales, meaning families could potentially save hundreds of pounds on testing costs if the rules are changed before then.

Testing measures have already been eased this month, with vaccinated travellers heading for the UK no longer required to take a pre-departure Covid test, nor to isolate on arrival until they receive a negative test result.

“Day two” tests are still a requirement for double-jabbed arrivals, but this can now be a lateral flow rather than a pricier PCR test.

However, some critics have claimed that scrapping all travel tests would risk hard lockdowns being reintroduced to the UK.

Tom Watson, former deputy leader of the Labour Party and chair of the Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation, said: “The only way our country can avoid hard lockdowns is by maintaining a robust Covid-testing regime.

“We have consistently backed relaxing unnecessary restrictions but believe removing testing completely for international travel would weaken those defences.

“Lateral flow tests are a low-cost way to ensure we are able to detect new variants.”

There has been no mention of testing rules for unvaccinated travellers being relaxed.

Those entering the UK who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated must present a negative Covid test prior to travel, quarantine for 10 days on arrival to the UK and take two PCR tests – one and day two and one on day eight of self-isolation.

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