By Chinelo Obogo
Travelers arriving England will no longer have to take COVID-19 tests if they have been fully vaccinated, the 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 is 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 travelers 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 soon.
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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 travelers on January 7, while double-jabbed travelers 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 travelers there will be no further “knee-jerk universal testing or hotel quarantine” in response to future COVID-19 variants.
In a joint letter, coordinated by the industry body, Airlines in the UK, called on the government to ensure “restriction-free international travels, at the very least for the fully vaccinated” – including an end to post-arrival tests.