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Easter holiday freedom as Covid travel restrictions scrapped

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Anyone entering the UK this Friday will no longer need to take a Covid test or complete a passenger locator form, the transport secretary has announced.

As part of the ‘landmark moment’ for passengers and the travel and aviation sector, all remaining Covid-19 international travel restrictions will be lifted from 4am Friday 18 March.

This means no-one entering the UK will be required to take a Covid test or complete a passenger locator form, the transport secretary confirmed.

Until then, unvaccinated passengers are required to take a pre-departure test and a day two post arrival test.

The government said the decision to lift restrictions comes as part of its ‘Living with Covid plan’, coupled with the success of the UK’s vaccine and booster roll-out.

So far, 86% of the population have received a second dose while 67% of the population have had their booster or a third dose.

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, and today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other.

“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving.”

The government added that the remaining managed hotel quarantine capacity will be “fully stood down from the end of March. It will continue to monitor and manage any future variants of concern.

‘UK travel sector is back’

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “Today’s announcement sends a clear message to the world – the UK travel sector is back. With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-Covid normality throughout the travel experience.

“We’re grateful for the timing of the announcement as we prepare to welcome back passengers this Easter and summer, for which we know there is huge pent-up demand, and for the UK’s leadership in being the first major aviation market to remove all remaining restrictions. The time to return to the skies – to enjoy all that makes aviation and international travel great, for families and businesses – is now.”

Other countries are at “different stages in the pandemic” and many still require passengers to comply with requirements. If you’re due to travel soon, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice to keep up to date with other countries’ entry requirements.

Holidaymakers should also carefully check terms and conditions for flexibility in amending bookings before buying tickets. People will continue to be able to access their vaccine and recovery records through the NHS COVID Pass to use when travelling overseas. You may also consider looking up online for the best travel ideas now that Covid restrictions are lifted.

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