Ministers set to axe Covid testing system for fully vaccinated passengers within days

·2-min read
Ministers set to axe Covid testing system for fully vaccinated passengers within days

Ministers are preparing to scrap the Covid testing system for fully vaccinated holidaymakers within days.

The move could save a family of four up to £100 and will give the hard-hit travel industry another boost after pre-departure tests and post-arrival PCR swabs were axed earlier this month.

At present, fully vaccinated Britons returning to the UK are required to take one lateral flow test by day two, and if they are positive they must take a PCR test.

But ministers are getting ready to drop this requirement, with an announcement expected by next Wednesday, according to reports.

It will be the first time fully vaccinated Britons can go abroad without having to test on return since travel swabs were introduced in January last year.

It is thought “fully vaccinated” will mean two jabs, rather than three, until spring

After that, travellers who have not received a booster jab could be subject to testing restrictions. Unvaccinated travellers still need multiple tests and self-isolation.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is said to have been leading the charge for scrapping the remaining testing restrictions.

However, all arrivals will still need to fill out a passenger locator form within 48 hours of arrival in England.

It comes as the prime minister announced all Plan B restrictions will be lifted in England next Thursday.

But Boris Johnson came under fire by his own predecessor yesterday in the House of Commons after announcing his plans to end Covid restrictions.

Former prime minister Theresa May said: “If we’re going to learn to live with Covid, we need to facilitate travel.

“So will [Mr Johnson] take this opportunity to announce that when Plan B restrictions are removed next week, the Government will also make it clear that there will be no testing requirements for anybody entering England who is fully-vaccinated?”

He replied: “We’re certainly reviewing the testing arrangements for travel and [Health Secretary Sajid Javid] will be making a statement in the next few days.”

But he added a note of caution that many countries may impose a three-jab requirement for entry, saying: “I think it’s very important everybody in the country understands that getting your booster, wherever you want to go in the world, is going to be a pretty crucial thing to do.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “Ministers have been saying all the right things about needing to get on with our lives – this feels like the last hurdle to achieving that.”

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