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Scotland and Ireland scrap pre-departure tests and PCRs on arrival

Scotland and Ireland have updated their testing restrictions for international travellers, ditching pre-departure tests and issuing lateral flow tests on arrival.

Scotland and Ireland have updated their testing restrictions for international travellers, ditching pre-departure tests and issuing lateral flow tests on arrival.

Scotland has updated its testing restrictions for international arrivals, meaning all four UK nations are now aligned.

From 7 January, international travellers entering Scotland who are fully vaccinated or under the age of 18 will no longer need to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests, and will also no longer need to self-isolate until they’ve received a negative result.

Travellers will still be required to take a test on or before day two after arriving in the UK, but this can be a lateral flow device rather than a PCR test from 9 January.

Those who test positive on their lateral flow test will need to have a PCR test and isolate until a negative result is received.

Ireland has also removed the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to show a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the country.

Unvaccinated travellers entering Ireland will still be required to show a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival.

Arrivals in England, Northern Ireland and Wales no longer need to take a pre-departure test and could take a rapid lateral flow test rather than a PCR test once they arrive.

“In England, from 4am on Friday, we will be scrapping a pre-departure test which discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense,” Johnson told MPs on Wednesday.

“We will also be lifting the requirement to self isolate on arrival until receipt of a negative PCR,” he said, adding that arrivals would instead need to do a rapid lateral flow test, and then only take a PCR if the lateral flow was positive,” PM Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday.

Johnson said the Omicron variant is now so prevalent in the United Kingdom that the old measures were having limited impact on the spread of the disease.

National Health Service lateral flow tests, which are available for free in the UK, cannot be used for international travel and the tests must be brought from a private provider.

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