All Covid testing requirements for vaccinated travelers arriving into the UK are to be scrapped, the government has confirmed.
The ‘day two’ lateral flow test that double-jabbed arrivals must currently undertake will no longer be necessary, according to the prime minister.
“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,” Boris Johnson said.
“Thanks to the tough decisions, I think people will agree we got the big calls right… we are now moving through the Omicron wave. So what we’re doing on travel to show this country is open for business, people arriving no longer have to take tests if they’ve been double vaccinated.”
The move means that fully vaccinated travelers will be able to enter the country without any need to test before or after their journey.
The date from when the new rules will take effect has yet to be confirmed. Transport secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce further details of the upcoming changes this afternoon.
International travel restrictions have been gradually eased in the UK over the past month, following a tightening of the rules at the end of last year in response to the Omicron variant.
Pre-departure tests have already been dropped for vaccinated travelers, as has the need to take a PCR test – rather than the cheaper lateral flow – within two days of arrival into the country and quarantine until a negative result is received.
However, the rules look set to remain the same for unvaccinated arrivals, who must present a negative Covid test before departing for the UK; isolate for 10 days on arrival; and take PCR tests on day two and day eight of quarantine.
The British travel industry has long been calling for an end to testing for those who are fully vaccinated.
Just this week, the leaders of seven of the biggest airlines serving the UK have asked the health secretary to assure travelers there will be no further “knee-jerk universal testing or hotel quarantine” in response to future Covid variants.
In a joint letter, coordinated by the industry body Airlines UK, they call on Sajid Javid to ensure “restriction-free international travel, at the very least for the fully vaccinated” – including an end to post-arrival tests.
“It is time for passengers and businesses who rely upon the UK’s air connectivity to fully benefit from the same vaccine dividend that has enabled our domestic economy to reopen,” reads the letter.