By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Travellers arriving in England will no longer have to take COVID-19 tests if they have been vaccinated, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday,
Sky News UK reports that the “day two” lateral flow test that double-jabbed arrivals must currently take after arrival in the UK 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. 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,’ Johnson said.
The move means that fully vaccinated travellers 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 were dropped for vaccinated travellers on January 7, while double-jabbed travellers can now take a lateral flow (antigen) test for their ‘day two’ post-arrival test, no longer having to 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 within the first two days and on day eight after landing.
Leaders of seven of the biggest airlines serving the UK recently asked the health secretary to assure travellers there will be no further “knee-jerk universal testing or hotel quarantine” in response to future COVID variants.
A joint letter coordinated by the industry body Airlines UK called on the UK government to ensure ‘restriction-free international travel, at the very least for the fully vaccinated’ – including an end to post-arrival tests.