Fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England from countries not on the red list will be able from the end of October to replace the expensive PCR tests on the second day with cheaper lateral flow tests, it has been announced.
Those entering England from non-red countries will also be able to avoid taking a pre-departure test from October 4, when the current traffic light system will end.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps posted the government’s update on overseas travel restrictions this afternoon in a Twitter post.
“We are making testing easier for travel from Monday October 4th. If you are fully [vaccinated] you will not need a pre-departure test until you arrive in England from a non-red country and from later in October you can replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper side flow “, did he declare.
Anyone arriving in the UK from Green, Orange and Red List countries is currently required to take a PCR test at least on the second day after travel.
TRAVEL UPDATE: We make testing easier for travel As of Monday 4th October, if you are fully vaxed, you will not need a pre-departure test before you arrive in England from a non-red country and from later in October, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.
– MP Rt Hon Grant Shapps (@grantshapps) September 17, 2021
“In addition, eight countries and territories will be removed from the red list from Wednesday September 22 at 4 am, including Turkey, Pakistan and [the] Maldives.
“We will also introduce a new simplified system for international travel from Monday, October 4, replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world – finding the right balance to manage risk for public health as Priority n ° 1.
Under this system, countries and territories will be separated into “take out” and “avoid” destinations, marking the end of the separation between green and amber.
Anyone arriving in England from a Red List country will still need to take pre-departure testing on days two and eight and self-quarantine for 10 days at a managed hotel.
Mr Shapps said the new rules “would make international travel easier […] to reduce costs, benefit from higher immunization levels and protect us all. “
The changes announced today will only apply to England. It is not yet clear whether Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow suit, but the Welsh government has said it will “carefully review” the proposed rules.
We will also introduce a new simplified system for international travel starting Monday, October 4, replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world – finding the right balance to manage the health risk. public as no. 1 priority.
– MP Rt Hon Grant Shapps (@grantshapps) September 17, 2021
What about people who are not vaccinated?
Currently, unvaccinated travelers from Amber countries and all travelers from Red List countries must take a second PCR test on or after day 8.
Under the new rules, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers will still have to pay for a PCR test before departure on day two and day eight.
As the green list goes, they will also need to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arriving in England from any country, although they can sometimes pay for a ‘Test to Release’ on the fifth day.
PCR tests cost between £ 65 and £ 70 each, with their price reduced by an average of £ 92 per test following a government request to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The cost and additional hassle associated with the PCR test has often been blamed for deterring people from traveling, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid telling the AMC these factors act as a “barrier” for vacationers.
Lateral flow tests, which will replace today’s two PCR tests, cost between £ 25-40.
“Flight of reservations”
Members of the travel industry welcome the news, which will reduce the challenges of booking vacations.
A Eurostar spokesperson said The connection: ‘When the UK government removed the quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers, we saw an increase in bookings and as a result added a number of trains to accommodate passengers in August who were traveling primarily to visit friends and to the family or to take a vacation.
“With further easing of testing restrictions, we would expect an increase in leisure and business travel.”
Chris Parker, Director of Capacity and Commercial Performance at DFDS Ferries, said: “DFDS welcomes the government’s announcement that doubly vaccinated travelers will no longer have to undergo PCR testing upon their return to [England] and we expect an immediate increase in bookings as this will really make travel easier, especially for day trips and short breaks.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming our customers on board again. “
British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said: “We welcome the streamlining of the traffic light system and changes to the testing requirements allowing UK travelers to benefit from our leading vaccination program and donate and finally to customers and businesses the confidence to book the trips they’ve been waiting for.
“Based on scientific evidence, with less than 1% of people returning from low-risk countries testing positive for Covid (lower than the UK rate), we urge ministers to keep this policy under review, eliminating all testing for fully vaccinated travelers as soon as possible in the future, in line with most other European countries. “
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: “This is a welcome step forward for our customers and a decision that will make it much easier for fully vaccinated people to travel to Europe, reopening the flight to more people. many other UK consumers. Removing the pre-departure test and removing the traffic light system will once again instill much-needed confidence in the commute.
“However, vaccinated travelers and those from low-risk countries will still have to take an unnecessary test after arriving in the UK, making travel less affordable for everyone. As of July 1, there has been no testing for vaccinated travelers in the rest of Europe, and this is why the UK will continue to fall behind the rest of Europe if this persists . We will continue to support travel restrictions that protect the immunization program and the NHS, and advocate for the removal of measures that are not necessary for this. “
The new travel rules system is expected to last at least until New Years and will be in place as many people return from mid-term breaks.
Further details on the upcoming changes are available on the UK government website.