Covid-19 tests scrapped for England arrivals

Travellers touching down in England will no longer have to take Covid-19 tests if they are fully vaccinated against the virus, the government has confirmed.

The changes will be introduced from 04:00 on February 11th.

The travel sector welcomed the move as a welcome boost ahead of the half-term holiday next month.

Rules have also been eased for unvaccinated travellers, who will no longer have to take a day eight test.

However, they will still need pre-departure and day two tests.

Everyone arriving in England, regardless of vaccination status, will still need to fill in a passenger locator form – although these would be made “simpler and easier” to complete, transport secretary Grant Shapps said this afternoon.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have previously followed the lead of England, but any changes are for them to decide.

Commenting on the changes, prime minister Boris Johnson said although people had to be “cautious,” “you can see the figures are starting to get better”.

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The move will be welcomed by the travel and tourism industry, one of the sectors most badly affected by coronavirus lockdown measures.

Julia Simpson, World Travel & Tourism Council chief executive, said: “WTTC welcomes the government’s decision to scrap testing for those who are fully vaccinated travelling to England.

“There is no longer any need for testing, and we urge ministers across the UK and countries around the world to follow England’s lead and allow the fully vaccinated to travel freely.

“After a gruelling 18 months for the UK tourism sector, this will provide a massive boost to businesses up and down the country.”

The WTTC, however, called for the “unnecessary” passenger locator forms to also be scrapped.

Charlie Cornish, group chief executive of MAG, echoed the positive sentiments.

He added: “This important announcement is excellent news for our sector’s recovery.

“This change will be welcomed by the millions of vaccinated people who are desperate to travel and will now be able to do so – restriction-free – for the first time in more than a year.

“The latest research shows travel restrictions do very little to stop the spread of variants like Omicron.

“Removing them will ensure the many cultural, social and economic benefits of international travel can be realised without any major impact on public health.”

Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, said the news would bring relief.

“The removal of testing for vaccinated international arrivals shows that England is truly open for business and for the first time in almost two years, inbound tourism businesses can start trading their way to recovery.

“Additionally, we hope to see the aligning of international restrictions across all four nations in the coming days.

“International visitors often visit more than one country when here in the UK, which is why a four nations approach to re-opening is very important.”

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