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Pre-departure covid travel tests no longer required to visit England as of 7th January 2022

And from Sunday, only rapid test required on day 2

Source: BBC

As of today, 7th of January 2022, from 04:00 GMT, fully vaccinated travellers going to England will no longer have to take a test before they travel.

And from Sunday, rather than taking a PCR test on day two of arrival, they can take a cheaper lateral flow.

That rule change will come into force on 11 January and apply to England only for now.

The rules for self-isolating on arrival will also change.

The shake-up was confirmed by Boris Johnson earlier, following calls from travel firms who said the measures were not effective now that Omicron was spreading widely.

Under the current rules in force until Friday, all fully-vaccinated travellers over the age of 12 must show proof of a negative test lateral flow or PCR test taken in the two days before coming to the UK. Fully vaccinated people must also pay for a PCR test within two days of arrival and self-isolate while waiting for the result.

People who aren't fully vaccinated must currently take PCR tests on both day two and day eight after arriving, and self-isolate for 10 days.

But under the new rules:

  • From 04:00 GMT on Friday 7 January, people who are fully vaccinated and those aged under-18 will no longer need to take a test two days before travelling to England from countries outside the UK and the Common Travel Area. On arrival, they will have to take a PCR test but they will no longer have to self-isolate while awaiting the result
  • From 04:00 GMT on Sunday 9 January, they will only have to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test on day two. But this test must be bought from a private test provider - free NHS tests are not allowed
  • Unvaccinated passengers will need to continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the pre-departure test "discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense".

The announcement comes after airlines said passenger testing was making no real impact, with data last week suggesting one in 25 people in England had the virus.

They also said compulsory testing had held back the sector's recovery.

Mr Johnson met his cabinet earlier and alongside changes to travel tests, the government has said it will ease Covid testing rules for people without symptoms, who will no longer need to confirm a positive lateral flow test with a PCR.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson said he hoped the country could "ride out" the current wave, although he acknowledged parts of the NHS would feel temporarily overwhelmed.

That rule change will come into force on 11 January and apply to England only for now.

Following the announcement for England, Health Minister for the Welsh government Eluned Morgan said: "I have today reluctantly agreed to remove the requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and under 18s to take a pre-departure test (PDT) and a day 2 PCR test when arriving in the UK."

Holidaymaker David Hughes welcomed the scrapping of PCR tests before returning to the UK. Currently, on holiday in Dubai, the rule change will save his family of 4 around £400 and removing the Day 2 PCR will also save the family another £400.

"Having returned from a country where there were strict entry requirements and we were tested on arrival I would be very confident that we'll be returning to the UK Covid free," he told the BBC.

Cancellation fees and no longer having to test before returning would mean significantly less hassle and stress, Mr. Hughes added.

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