Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, has announced that fully vaccinated international travellers arriving will no longer need to undergo mandatory Arrivals test as of 4th February 2022.
Starting 04:00 hours on 11th February 2022, international travellers arriving in England and Scotland will no longer need to undergo the mandatory Day 2 test. These rules are applicable to international travellers arriving in England and Scotland only as Wales and Northern Ireland are yet to confirm if they would follow suit.
The BBC quotes Boris Johnson as saying:
Although we have to be cautious, we are now moving through the Omicron wave, and you can see the figures are starting to get better. So what we’re doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travellers, 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.
Those who are not fully vaccinated will also no longer need to take a test on Day 8, though they will still need to provide a negative pre-departure test before they travel to the UK and take a Day 2 PCR test.
Presently, fully vaccinated travellers are required to take a Day 2 test when arriving into England from another country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who announced the date and time on which these rules will come into effect, also confirmed that the government will make the passenger locator form “simpler and easier to complete”. From the end of February, arrivals will be given an additional day to fill out the form before they travel.
In addition, the United Kingdom will recognise vaccine certificates from a further 16 countries, including Mexico and China. ￼
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Industry bodies and airlines are very happy with the move, with Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, saying:
We welcome this news knowing that millions of our customers will also be delighted to see the return of restriction free travel in the UK. We now look ahead to what we believe will be a strong summer. We believe testing for travel should now firmly become a thing of the past. It is clear travel restrictions did not materially slow the spread of Omicron in the UK and so it is important that there are no more knee jerk reactions to future variants. We commend the Government for removing all testing. easyJet plans to return to near 2019 levels of flying this summer and so we can’t wait to welcome our customers back onboard.
A spokesperson of Virgin Atlantic said:
Britain is now open for business and it’s vital that the aviation industry is allowed to lead the way in boosting prospects for economic recovery. The removal of all testing for vaccinated passengers is the final step in moving towards frictionless air travel, allowing passengers to reconnect with loved ones and business colleagues. It restores customer confidence and demand will be boosted in a critical booking window for the travel industry. We have demonstrated that international travel can operate safely, taking full advantage of our world leading vaccine rollout.
To ensure certainty for the industry, we will continue to work with UK Government on an evidence-based framework for variants of concern, eliminating border closures which have proven to be ineffective.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said:
We are glad that our governments have realised the time is right to make these changes and give this industry and others that rely on it the best possible chance to stage a recovery. The pent-up demand for travel is there as people look to reconnect with family and friends, take that long-awaited holiday, finally go on honeymoon or take that important business trip.
The industry has long planned for the resumption of safe travel and although the changes will not come into force for a few weeks yet, we do expect a surge in demand as we move ever closer to normality. It will be challenging as the industry landscape has changed and we encourage governments to work with the industry to devise a number of initiatives to recover lost connectivity and promote Scotland as a great destination to visit, and we look forward to discussing this with them.
What do you think of England and Scotland removing arrivals test for fully vaccinated international travellers? Let me know in the comments section below.