Two years after Covid-19 took the world by surprise, one country seems to be finally resigning to it as a fact of life and moving on from onerous testing requirements to save its travel industry from going into a tailspin again.
England to remove pre-arrival requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers
In a new announcement on the evening of January 5, 2022, England announced that they would be doing away with testing as a condition for arrival into the country.
Eligible, fully vaccinated passengers and under 18s will no longer need to take a pre-arrival test, or self-isolate on arrival in England from 4 am on January 7, 2022, onwards but must continue to take their post-arrival tests.
Proof of vaccination from over 15 further countries and territories will be accepted for entry into England from 4 am on January 10, 2022: Bhutan, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Fiji, Iraq, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, north of Cyprus, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, The Gambia and Uzbekistan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently granted WHO Emergency Use List (EUL) authorisation to the two versions of the ‘Novavax’ vaccine named Covovax and Nuvaxovid. Therefore, eligible travellers who have received either version of this vaccine will be recognised for international travel into England from 4 am on January 10, 2022.
England to downgrade on-arrival testing requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers
From 4 am on January 9, 2022, eligible fully vaccinated travellers and over 5-year olds kids will be able to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR on or before day 2 of their arrival in England. Lateral flow tests for travel can be booked from January 7, 2022, onwards and taken upon arrival by the end of day 2.
Anyone who receives a positive result on their lateral flow test must self-isolate immediately and order an NHS PCR test from GOV.UK. Positive PCR tests for arrivals will be sequenced to understand if and where variants are emerging around the globe to protect the UK public.
As per the UK Government, As data shows, Omicron is the dominant variant in the UK and spreading widely in the community, it is now proportionate to cautiously reduce testing measures at the borders.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
As we learn more about the Omicron variant it is right that we keep our testing and border measures under review to ensure they remain proportionate.
The steps we’re taking will make travel easier for people while protecting the UK public from the virus.
Omicron continues to be a serious threat and it is important that travellers continue to get tested. The most important thing anyone can do if they haven’t already is come forward for their vaccine.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
I’ve always said that we won’t keep international travel restrictions in place any longer than they are necessary to protect public health.
That’s why we’re removing the temporary, extra testing measures we introduced for Omicron in November, making travel easier and cheaper for fully vaccinated passengers and providing a big boost for the travel industry as we enter the peak new year booking period.
We want to provide more certainty to passengers and businesses and will do a full review of our international travel measures for 2022 by the end of the month.
Requirements for unvaccinated travellers remain stringent
Unvaccinated passengers must continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR test on or before day two and on or after day eight and self-isolate for ten days. ‘Test to release’ remains an option for unvaccinated people to shorten their self-isolation period.
If you are travelling into the UK, you can stop bothering with a test pre-departure and stop booking expensive PCR tests for yourself on arrival. If you already have one booked, though, it will still work, so you don’t need to book another one.
What do you think of this new change from the UK for their testing requirements to enter the country?
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