Covid Tests For Fully Vaccinated Travellers To England Will Be Scrapped

Boris Johnson said this was possible as the country was "moving through the Omicron wave".
Grant Shapps told MPs that the new rules would come into force from 4am on February 11.
Grant Shapps told MPs that the new rules would come into force from 4am on February 11.
Aaron Chown via PA Wire/PA Images

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England will no longer have to take Covid tests, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Speaking to broadcasters on Monday morning, the prime minister said the relaxation was possible as the UK was “moving through the Omicron wave”.

“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,” he said.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps told MPs that the new rules would come into force from 4am on February 11, in time for the half-term holidays.

He said 2022 was “the year in which restrictions on travel, on lockdowns and limits on people’s lives are firmly placed in the past”.

Currently, vaccinated people travelling to England must pre-book a coronavirus test to be taken on day 2 after they arrive. They do not need to quarantine once they are in England.

If travellers are not fully vaccinated they must take a test up to 48 hours before their journey, and they must pre-book two tests to be taken on day 2 and day 8 after they arrive. Once they arrive in England they must quarantine for 10 days.

Shapps said the definition of “fully vaccinated” was having received two doses of an approved vaccine or one dose of a Janssen vaccine.

And he also altered the rules for those who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, stating that they will no longer be required to do a test on day eight of their arrival or to self-isolate.

However, they will still need to fill out a passenger locator form to demonstrate proof of a negative Covid test, which they should take two days before they travel. They must also still take a post-arrival PCR test.

Shapps said: “This is a proportionate system that moves us a step closer to normality while maintaining vital public health protections.”

The rules change comes after the chief executives of the UK’s largest airlines wrote to the government to demand an end to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

In the letter, they asked that restriction-free travel was restored “at the very least” for those who are fully vaccinated.

The letter was signed by the heads of Ryanair, easyJet, Loganair, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Jet2, as well as the chief executives of holiday travel group Tui and trade body Airlines UK.

As well as changing the rules for adults, Shapps also confirmed that 12 to 15-year-olds in England will be able to prove their vaccination status via the digital NHS pass if they intend to travel abroad.

“Under-18s will continue to be treated as eligible fully-vaccinated passengers, which means they will not face any tests at the UK border,” he said.

Meanwhile, the UK is also set to recognise vaccine certificates from 16 further nations in a move Shapps said would “boost” the UK economy and aviation industry.


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