Test burden lightened for UK travelers, but “the damage is already done”

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Boris Johnson has dropped the travel test regimen introduced to combat the Omicron variant.

In a statement to MPs, the Prime Minister said fully vaccinated travelers entering England will no longer have to undergo pre-departure tests from 4 a.m. on Friday.

He said PCR tests, currently required by the second day of a traveller’s arrival in the UK at the latest, will also be dropped and replaced with lateral flow tests, which cost up to £ 60 cheaper per person.

Passengers will also no longer have to self-isolate until they test negative. However, if they are positive with lateral flow, they will need to take a PCR swab and self-isolate for up to 10 days.

These measures will give a boost to vacationers planning a sunny winter vacation and to the beleaguered travel and tourism industry.

They mark a return to the testing regime in place in November ahead of the emergence of the omicron variant in South Africa, forcing ministers to impose restrictions in an attempt to prevent the importation of the new version of the Covid virus.

The new changes follow pressure from Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, who argued that with omicron now the dominant variant in the UK, there was no need to maintain such a strict testing regime and damaging to the travel industry.


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