Travel testing scrapped for vaccinated travellers
The government says that as the Omicron cases continue to fall it is time to open up the country fully for business and travel.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the move on Twitter. He Tweeted: “We are removing all testing measures for eligible fully vaccinated arrivals to England from 4am on 11 Feb These changes have been made possible by the success of our vaccine & booster rollout.
“Arrivals in England who aren’t fully vaccinated will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day 2 after arriving in England. All passengers will still need to complete a Passenger Locator Form.
“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.”
The travel testing sector has proven controversial with firms gaming the system with misleading pricing in order to be placed at the top of the government’s approved list of providers. Tests can add hundreds of pounds to the cost of a family holiday.
Pre-departure and post-arrival PCR tests were scrapped on 5 January after government accepted that they served no purpose once the Omicron variant had become dominant in the UK.
That led to calls for the remaining requirement for post-arrival lateral flow tests to be scrapped.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO said: “We welcome this news knowing that millions of our customers will also be delighted to see the return of restriction free travel in the UK. We now look ahead to what we believe will be a strong summer.
“We believe testing for travel should now firmly become a thing of the past. It is clear travel restrictions did not materially slow the spread of Omicron in the UK and so it is important that there are no more knee jerk reactions to future variants.
“We commend the government for removing all testing. easyJet plans to return to near 2019 levels of flying this summer and so we can’t wait to welcome our customers back onboard.”