Fully vaccinated students and travellers will have a more affordable and straightforward entry to the UK from January 7. They no longer need to test before boarding their flights, and from January 9, they can opt for a rapid lateral flow test instead of a PCR test on day two.
“The pre-departure test discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense,” PM Boris Johnson said. Along with no solid proof that passenger testing upon entry to the UK works, it’s also held back the sector’s recovery.
Since PCR tests will no longer be a requirement, incoming travellers are set to save 69 pounds. The alternative, lateral flow tests, only cost 11.99 pounds per test. “Cancellation fees and no longer having to test before returning would mean significantly less hassle and stress,” David Hughes (a holidaymaker in Dubai) said.
The rules for self-isolating upon entry to the UK are also due to change — travellers no longer have to self-isolate for seven days. Johnson confirmed these updates after calls from travel firms. He said the measures were not effective now that Omicron was spreading widely.
The chief executive of the industry body Airlines UK, Tim Alderslade, welcomed this move. “At a critical time in the booking season for passengers, this will provide a massive boost to those wanting to travel abroad or come to the UK this year,” he said.
“Today marks an important step towards learning to live alongside the virus, helping passengers and the travel sector look ahead to what will be an all-important spring and summer season.”
In a series of tweets, Grant Shapps, the UK’s transport secretary, announced the removal of extra testing measures –introduced last year to reduce the cases of Omicron entering the UK — and a full review of travel measures for entry to the UK by the end of January.
All stated entry requirements will only apply to England until further notice. Welsh Health Minister announced it was following suit with the lifting of requirements for fully vaccinated travellers as well.