UK prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take any Covid-19 tests after arriving in England.
This means an end to the current regime where fully vaccinated travellers are still required to take a lateral flow test two days after arriving in the UK.
Johnson revealed the policy change during a visit to a hospital on Monday (24 January). Transport secretary Grant Shapps then later confirmed that the change would be introduced from 4am on 11 February during a speech in the House of Commons.
Arrivals in England who are not fully vaccinated will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day two after arriving in England. All passengers, regardless of vaccination status. will still be required to complete a Passenger Locator Form.
The UK government sets travel rules for England but the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland usually follow this policy.
Johnson’s confirmation of the new policy came hours after the CEOs of leading UK-based airlines called for the government to end Covid-19 restrictions to allow air travel to return to “near normality”.
The bosses of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Ryanair and Loganair were among those to sign the letter to ministers, alongside Airlines UK’s chief executive Tim Alderslade.
They called for restriction-free travel, as well as a “clear protocol” for managing future Covid variants, alongside the end to border closures and flight bans when new “variants of concern” emerge.
The CEOs said these moves would show that the UK was “mobilising its world-beating aviation sector to turbo-boost our recovery and deliver global Britain”.
“Last summer saw restriction-free travel across Europe for the fully vaccinated, with no signs this led to worse outcomes than the UK experienced,” read the letter.
“A number of countries are already moving back to this position, including Germany, Spain and Switzerland, who now require no testing for the fully vaccinated.
“It is time for passengers and businesses who rely on the UK’s air connectivity to fully benefit from the same vaccine dividend that has enabled our domestic economy to reopen.”