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UK scraps Covid tests for fully vaccinated travellers

LONDON, January 25, 2022

All testing measures for eligible fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the UK will be removed from 4am on  February 11, the government said yesterday (January 24) as it goes one step further to reopen the travel sector.

The simplification of travel rules comes just before half term, providing welcome news for families looking to travel abroad during the school holidays, as well as an extra boost for the tourism industry.

Before the end of February, eligible fully vaccinated travellers will only need to fill out the passenger locator form (PLF), which will be simplified, confirming their vaccination status, travel history and contact details, and people will have an extra day to fill it out before travelling.

The framework set out today is intended to be one that will last. It aims to provide stability for travellers and the travel industry throughout 2022, ensuring the UK remains one of the best places in the world to do business, the government said on its official website.

Meanwhile, friends and families can make the most of their global connections, while saving around £100 for the average family with the removal of testing.

Children aged 12-15 in England will be able to prove their vaccination status or proof of prior infection via a digital NHS Covid Pass from February 3 for outbound travel, making it easier for children and families to travel to countries which require proof of vaccination or prior infection to gain entry, avoid isolation, or access venues or services.

It will also enable families to plan holidays for February half term with greater confidence, as parents can be reassured they will quickly be able to evidence their child’s vaccination status or proof of prior infection for outbound travel and meet the requirements of different countries more easily.

For inward travel, all under-18s regardless of their individual vaccination status will continue to be considered as fully vaccinated.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We made the right calls at the right time and thanks to our vaccine and booster rollout it’s paying off – allowing us to safely remove nearly all Covid-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers. We already have one of the most open economies in Europe with the least restrictions, and because of the changes today we now have a travel sector to match it.

“This final step in our stable and safe full return to international travel is a major boost for UK tourism, setting Britain free ahead of the crucial half term and spring holiday season.”

One of the first western European countries to lift isolation requirements for all arrivals who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, the UK will also scale back travel restrictions for unvaccinated arrivals. From February 11, individuals who are not fully vaccinated will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day 2 after they arrive in the UK, as well as filling out the simplified PLF.

They will not need to self-isolate on arrival, and will only need to do so on receipt of a positive result, the government statement said.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said: “WTTC welcomes the government’s decision to scrap testing for those who are fully vaccinated travelling to England. There is no longer any need for testing, and we urge Ministers across the UK and countries around the world, to follow England’s lead and allow the fully vaccinated to travel freely.

“After a gruelling 18 months for the UK Travel & Tourism sector, this will provide a massive boost to businesses up and down the country. We hope it will also see the end of the unnecessary passenger locator forms.” – TradeArabia News Service




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