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Britain Will Drop All COVID-19 Testing For Travel By End of January, Reports

Britain Will Drop All COVID-19 Testing For Travel By End of January, Reports

Britain is set to drop all COVID-19 testing for international travel for fully vaccinated travellers by the end of January according to sources reportedly close to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The official announcement is set to be made on January 26 which will coincide with a review of emergency Plan B measures that were introduced to contain the Omicron surge. With daily infections now plummeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is widely expected to roll back nearly all pandemic restrictions.

The change will only apply to fully vaccinated travellers with recognised proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers will still need to take at least three COVID-19 tests and self-isolate for 10-days.

Grant Shapps is said to be in favour of the rule change after being lobbied by the British airline and travel industry. He will still need to convince other cabinet ministers including Health Secretary Savid Javid who has overruled Shapps in the past.

Travel testing was beefed up when the Omicron variant was first detected but the emergency measures did little to stop the spread of the heavily mutated virus. Earlier this month, Britain dropped the requirement for pre-departure testing because Omicron had become the dominant variant across Britain.

Government ministers admitted that pre-departure testing was putting people off travelling because they were so scared of testing positive abroad and being barred from returning. The change was welcomed by Airlines UK as an important step towards “learning to live alongside the virus”.

Post-arrival testing has remained in force, although the requirement to take an expensive PCR test was significantly eased with travellers now only needing to take a rapid antigen test on or before day two post-arrival.

The travel industry has complained that the cost of post-arrival testing is still prohibitive for many families and that the measure is hitting bookings.

Work from home guidance and vaccine passports are also likely to be dropped on January 26 but face masks for public transport could remain in force for the remainder of the normal cold and flu season.

View Comment (1)
  • Logical and intelligent response to the status in the UK. And very welcoming for tourists and for business travelers.

    I was supposed to go to Thailand in about a week. But they have lurched from “requirement to shutdown to loosening to shutdown to whatever comes next”. They have utterly killed tourism (I read that 75-80% of all bookings, including flight bookings, had been cancelled”. The cost to the Thai tourism and travel industry (hotels, restaurants, shops, etc.) must be enormous. The most illogical of all of the people there has been there Minister of Health.

    Countries who think that they can “bury their heads in the sand” until this “goes away” are only kidding themselves. The UK has, instead, adopted a true logic and medicine-based decision. Good for UK. Bad for Thailand.

    EdSparks58

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