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UK to lift travel testing requirements for vaccinated, ease rules for unvaccinated

The British government has announced that it is scrapping coronavirus travel testing requirements for the vaccinated from 11 February, news hailed by the travel industry as a big step back to normality.

The British government has announced that it is scrapping coronavirus travel testing requirements for the vaccinated from 11 February, news hailed by the travel industry as a big step back to normality.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “to show that this country is open for business, open for travelers, 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.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the change would take effect on 11 February, coinciding with a midterm holiday break for many schoolchildren.

“Border testing of vaccinated travellers has outlived its usefulness,” Shapps said. “Today we are setting Britain free.”

Shapps also told MPs that the definition of fully vaccinated as “two doses of an approved vaccination or one dose of a Janssen vaccine” would remain for now.

He said the rules for those who did not count as fully vaccinated would change too.

“Today, I can announce that passengers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated will no longer be required to do a day eight test after arrival, or indeed to self-isolate.

“They will still need to fill out a passenger locator form to demonstrate proof of a negative COVID test taken two days before they travel and they must still take a post-arrival PCR test.

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

UK Quarantine
London, UK

Tourism and travel firms that have been hammered by pandemic restrictions welcomed the move, which makes the U.K. one of the most open countries in the world for international travel.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of airline industry body Airlines U.K., said it was “a landmark day.”

“Nearly two years since the initial COVID restrictions were introduced, today’s announcement brings international travel towards near-normality for the fully vaccinated, and at last into line with hospitality and the domestic economy,” he said.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of budget airline easyJet, said “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 U.K. and so it is important that there are no more knee-jerk reactions to future variants,” he said.

Source: AAP