‘A step closer to normality’


The United Kingdom government has announced its intentions to scrap compulsory COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travellers. Additionally, the UK announced that it would also be halting quarantine periods for unvaccinated travellers. The government announced on Monday that it is entering into what it dubbed a ‘new phase’ in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted in UK

Previously, the UK had required fully vaccinated arrivals in the country to have taken a lateral flow test within two days of travel. In line with this, individuals who had not been vaccinated were required to self-isolate for 10 days in addition to taking multiple tests both before and after entry.

Announcing the changes to the COVID-19 restrictions, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained that the current requirements would come to a halt on February 11. Shapps explained that the end of the restrictions would make travel easier and cheaper, providing ‘certainty’ for the Transport sector.

The United Kingdom has opted to relax a number of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Image: Pexels

Travel restrictions have ‘outlived its usefulness’

The Transport Secretary elaborated that the restrictions, aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, have outlived its effectiveness.

“It’s obvious to me now that border testing for vaccinated travellers has outlived its usefulness and we’re therefore scrapping all travel tests for vaccinated people,”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

While the self-isolation requirements would be lifted Shapps revealed that PCR tests before and after travel would be implemented. Furthermore a completed passenger locator form would still be required.

“This is a proportionate system that moves us a step closer to normality while maintaining vital public health protections,”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

The UK also announced that it would be accepting vaccine certificates from another 16 countries, including China and Mexico. Therefore, the nation now officially recognises more than 180 countries’ COVID-19 vaccination documentation.

“We’re moving into a new phase of the fight against Covid, instead of protecting the UK from a pandemic our future depends on us living with endemic Covid,”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

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