Published on : Tuesday, January 25, 2022
The fully vaccinated travellers to England and Scotland will no longer have to take a “day two” test if they arrive after 4am on 11 February.
The decision, which has been demanded by the travel industry for months, will reduce the cost and complexity of international journeys – and remove some of the obstructions for overseas visitors.
The United Kingdom government spent most of 2020 saying that Covid-19 testing for travellers was a waste of time. But in 2021, ministers embraced tests enthusiastically.
A so-called “day two” test has been required for travellers to the UK continuously since 17 May last year, when the 19-week ban on non-essential travel was lifted.
Despite the name, the test can be taken any time on the day of arrival or either of the two following days.
Currently, incoming travellers cannot complete the necessary passenger locator forms until a test is booked, typically at a cost of £20 to £30 per person, as a reference number is required.
With many United Kingdom (UK) travellers now fully vaccinated and boosted, airlines and holiday companies have long argued for testing to be abolished – in line with many other European nations.
The one remaining test for fully vaccinated arrivals to England and Scotland will be lifted from 4am on Friday 11 February.
The UK transport secretary, Grant Shapps, told Parliament that 2022 is the year in which restrictions on travel, lockdowns and limits on people’s lives are firmly placed in the past.
The government says that the fully vaccinated rules apply if you are under 18.
Mr Shapps said that they promised we wouldn’t keep these measures in place a day longer than was necessary, and it’s obvious to me now that border testing for vaccinated travellers has outlived its usefulness.
Given his assertion, the obvious conclusion appears to be to end the testing requirement immediately.