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PCR tests are DROPPED as new Covid travel test rules come into force TODAY


New rules for travellers getting into England 

  • From Friday, January 7, totally vaccinated travellers and people aged under-18 now not must take a test two days earlier than travelling to England from nations exterior the UK and the Common Travel Area. 
  • As of at the moment, travellers will solely need to take a lateral stream test as an alternative of the dearer PCR test on day two. This test should be bought from a personal test supplier – free NHS tests are not allowed
  • Unvaccinated passengers might want to proceed to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days

Rules for testing have been eased for travellers arriving in England at the moment, the Government has introduced.

From Friday, totally vaccinated travellers now not need to take a pre-departure test earlier than they travel to England.

And as of at the moment, they could take a lateral stream test bought from a personal test supplier inside two days of arrival moderately than the dearer PCR. 

Until now, travellers have been required to take the PCR test earlier than day two and self-isolate whereas ready for the outcome. 

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the pre-departure test discouraged many from travelling ‘for worry of being trapped abroad and incurring important additional expense’, the BBC reports.

The announcement comes after airways claimed traveller testing was making little influence, with knowledge final week suggesting that one in 25 folks in England had the virus.

On Friday, an airline boss mentioned that demand for holidays was returning to pre-pandemic ranges after the announcement of the eased restrictions. 

The measures will save households a whole lot of kilos on not having to purchase so many tests and make it a lot simpler to e-book holidays – and has resulted in a surge in demand amongst winter sun-seekers and households seeking to reunite with family members.

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PCR tests on common price round £80 per traveller, in comparison with £20-£30 for a speedy swab, saving households as much as £200 on post-arrival tests alone. They might save one other £100 in tests taken for entry into the UK.

Steve Heapy, chief government of Jet2, instructed BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that demand for holidays had now reached related ranges to these seen earlier than the beginning of the pandemic.

A busy terminal 5 arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport on Friday as passengers arriving back into the UK no longer need to take a PCR test

A busy terminal 5 arrivals corridor at Heathrow Airport on Friday as passengers arriving again into the UK now not must take a PCR test

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He mentioned: ‘Demand is round pre-Covid ranges. Prior to the announcement it was nicely beneath, but it surely has given folks the arrogance to search for a vacation, that they will not be caught in resorts quarantining. People now wish to begin excited about extra cheerful issues, ie occurring vacation.

‘There’s all the time a danger that we might have new restrictions however I believe the Omicron variant has proven to governments it’s good to bide your time and take a look at the science a bit earlier than leaping into lockdown.

‘As Professor Whitty mentioned we now have to be taught to stay with this virus, we will not simply leap into additional restrictions each time we now have a new variant – we now have to be taught to stay with it. Hopefully that is the start of the top we are able to get again to some type of normality.

‘Our plans for summer season 2022 stay the identical and we now have a much bigger programme than summer season 2019. Some firms are saying it’ll take two or three years to get well, we are again to above summer season 2019 ranges. 

‘I believe it is life like [to be making such preparations], it is optimistic clearly, however after two years of coping with the virus, we’re in a spot the place we are able to stay with it higher. 

‘People are determined to get away. It’s two or three years since some folks have had a vacation, and I believe it is excellent for well being getting away within the solar, mendacity on a seaside, getting some Vitamin D and so forth.’

Fully vaccinated travellers and those aged under 18 will no longer need to take a test two days before travelling to England

Fully vaccinated travellers and people aged beneath 18 will now not must take a test two days earlier than travelling to England

Upon arrival, they will only have to take a lateral flow test instead of the more expensive PCR test on day two. This test must be purchased from a private test provider - free NHS tests are not allowed

Upon arrival, they’ll solely need to take a lateral stream test as an alternative of the dearer PCR test on day two. This test should be bought from a personal test supplier – free NHS tests are not allowed

Unvaccinated passengers will need to continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days

Unvaccinated passengers might want to proceed to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days

Steve Heapy, chief government of Jet2, instructed BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that demand for holidays had now reached related ranges to these seen earlier than the beginning of the pandemic

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for tour operator Tui mentioned Mr Johnson’s announcement ‘has given Brits the reassurance that travel will as soon as once more be simpler and extra inexpensive’. 

She went on: ‘We’ve already seen a right away and robust uptick in bookings and we now count on summer season 2022 bookings to be normalised. 

‘January is historically the busiest month for vacation bookings and demand is but to achieve pre-Covid ranges, so we have to see sustained confidence in travel so the trade can totally get well.’ 

The agency’s largest reserving spikes have been for Mexico and the Canaries. Derek Jones, chief government of luxurious travel firm Kuoni, mentioned the easing of testing rules ‘needs to be the start of the top of Covid as a blocker to worldwide travel’. 

Mr Jones continued: ‘I predict travel will likely be 90% again to 2019 ranges earlier than the top of spring. 

‘We’re already seeing elevated name volumes and inquiries about journeys for the yr forward as confidence builds.’ 

Britons can fly to 16 nations for beneath £10 this month – together with Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

The least expensive single flights discovered by MailOnline for this month had been £4 from London Stansted to Zagreb with Ryanair, and £5 for each London Luton to Rome with WizzAir and Stansted to Eindhoven with Ryanair. UK vacationers may also go from Stansted with Ryanair to Oslo or Krakow for £6, Vienna for £7 and Sofia or Dublin for £8.  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned in an announcement within the House of Commons earlier this week that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is now so prevalent within the UK that the measure is having restricted influence on the unfold of the illness.

Flight reserving web site Skyscanner now expects 2022 will now be a ‘bumper discount yr for travel’ with costs at the moment as much as 71 per cent cheaper than pre-pandemic for some locations, in comparison with the 2019 common.

The firm mentioned that within the first hours following Mr Johnson’s announcement, Skyscanner noticed an 81 per cent enhance in visits to the positioning, week on week. 

It mentioned bookings by UK travellers had been already up 25 per cent within the week to this Monday in comparison with the earlier week – and the highest 5 summer season locations booked by Britons are Orlando, Malaga, Faro, Alicante and Palma.  

Britons can fly to 16 countries for under £10 this month - including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain

Britons can fly to 16 nations for beneath £10 this month – together with Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain

Passengers sit in the international arrivals hall at London Heathrow Airport today after the new testing rules were announced

Passengers sit within the worldwide arrivals corridor at London Heathrow Airport at the moment after the new testing rules had been introduced

Passengers walk around the departures area of London Heathrow Airport today after the rules were changed

Passengers stroll across the departures space of London Heathrow Airport at the moment after the rules had been modified

Flight crew walk through Heathrow Airport today as it was revealed that pre-travel testing requirements will be dropped

Flight crew stroll by Heathrow Airport at the moment as it was revealed that pre-travel testing necessities will likely be dropped

Cheapest flights accessible for Britons this month

  • £4 to Croatia: London Stansted to Zagreb (Ryanair, January 22, 0830-1150, 2h20m)
  • £5 to Italy: London Luton to Rome (WizzAir, January 22, 1020-1350, 2h30m) 
  • £5 to Netherlands: London Stansted to Eindhoven (Ryanair, January 22, 0615-0830, 1h05m) 
  • £6 to Norway: London Stansted to Oslo (Ryanair, January 22, 1800-2100, 2h) 
  • £6 to Poland: London Stansted to Krakow (Ryanair, January 22, 0840-1155, 2h15m) 
  • £7 to Austria: London Stansted to Vienna (Ryanair, January 22, 0830-1135, 2h05m) 
  • £8 to Bulgaria: London Stansted to Sofia (Ryanair, January 25, 0635-1135, 3h) 
  • £8 to Ireland: London Stansted to Dublin (Ryanair, January 25, 0530-0745, 1h15m) 
  • £9 to Czech Republic: London Stansted to Prague (Ryanair, January 25, 1145-1435, 1h50m) 
  • £9 to Denmark: London Stansted to Copenhagen (Ryanair, January 26, 0840-1125, 1h45m)
  • £9 to Germany: London Stansted to Berlin (Ryanair, January 22, 0730-1010, 1h40m) 
  • £9 to Greece: London Stansted to Athens (Ryanair, January 25, 1545-2115, 3h30m) 
  • £9 to Latvia: London Stansted to Riga (Ryanair, January 19, 0620-1055, 2h35m)
  • £9 to Portugal: London Stansted to Lisbon (Ryanair, January 25, 0620-0910, 2h50m) 
  • £9 to Romania: London Luton to Bucharest (WizzAir, January 22, 1650-2205, 3h15m) 
  • £9 to Spain: London Stansted to Zaragoza (Ryanair, January 22, 1245-1555, 2h10m) 
  • £9 to Sweden: London Stansted to Gothenburg (Ryanair, January 25, 1845-2140, 1h55m) 

Checked by MailOnline on Skyscanner at about 10am at the moment. Flight arrival and departures instances are native.

Stephanie Boyle, Skyscanner’s world travel trade knowledgeable, instructed MailOnline: ‘This information will go a great distance in direction of boosting confidence for travellers who are hoping to go to family members abroad or e-book a vacation in 2022. 

‘We count on to see a surge in demand from UK holidaymakers following the scrapping of pre-departure testing and self-isolation necessities, particularly given the timing which aligns with a historically busy time for travel. 

‘Winter-weary staff returning this week after the festive interval are inclined to need one thing to stay up for and will likely be eager to e-book breaks within the brief time period as nicely as planning larger journeys for the summer season.’ 

She added: ‘We have extra data on what we are able to count on from a calendar yr dwelling with the virus now and plenty of will likely be planning massive journeys for the summer season when historically we now have seen fewer restrictions. 

‘The travel trade has proved its agility and resistance by troublesome instances and will likely be hoping for these new less complicated rules to stay in place with out change to proceed the protected and sustained return of travel.’

The present travel testing rules had been launched in November final yr amid a world panic over the unfold of Omicron – however with the variant now dominant within the UK, many questioned why they remained.

Mr Johnson instructed the Commons that from this weekend, pricey post-arrival PCR tests would get replaced with cheaper speedy swabs for the totally vaccinated.

Travellers should purchase the post-arrival lateral stream tests from personal suppliers earlier than returning to England. They can’t use free NHS ones.

Tests which beforehand wanted to be taken inside 72 hours of travelling to England have additionally been axed. 

This change got here into force at 4am at the moment, whereas the alternative of PCRs with lateral flows post-arrival will come into impact at 4am on Sunday.

The new rules will apply solely to those that have been totally vaccinated – which suggests double, moderately than triple-jabbed.

Children aged 5 to 17 will likely be handled as totally vaccinated even when they are not, that means they have to additionally take day two post-arrival lateral stream tests.  Under-fives are exempt. 

The modifications apply solely to England, with Scotland and Northern Ireland but to declare if they’ll comply with go well with. In Wales, well being minister Eluned Morgan mentioned they might be ‘reluctantly’ following go well with.

Mr Johnson mentioned: ‘When the Omicron variant was first recognized, we rightly launched travel restrictions to gradual its arrival in our nation.

‘But now Omicron is prevalent, these measures are having restricted influence on the expansion in circumstances, whereas persevering with to incur important prices to our travel trade.’

The modifications come simply in time for the travel trade, with January historically the busiest interval for summer season vacation bookings.

A British Airway aircraft comes in to land at London Heathrow Airport yesterday evening as the rule changes were announced

A British Airway plane is available in to land at London Heathrow Airport yesterday night as the rule modifications had been introduced

An aircraft comes in to land at Heathrow Airport last night as Boris Johnson announced a relaxing of travel testing rules

An plane is available in to land at Heathrow Airport final evening as Boris Johnson introduced a soothing of travel testing rules

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the House of Commons yesterday where he announced changes to the travel rules

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the House of Commons yesterday the place he introduced modifications to the travel rules

What will the new travel rules be for UK vacationers? 

If you qualify as totally vaccinated for travel to England (that means no less than 14 days has handed since your second jab), and you’ll arrive in England from at the moment (Friday, January 7), you don’t want to:

  • Take a Covid test earlier than you travel to England
  • Quarantine once you arrive in England

If you qualify as totally vaccinated and can arrive in England after 4am this Sunday (January 9), you’ll be able to select to take a lateral stream test as an alternative of a PCR test after you arrive in England.

If you’re taking a lateral stream test and test optimistic, you have to to self-isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR.

You should e-book the test earlier than you travel to England. You can e-book lateral flows from at the moment.

You should take the lateral stream test no later than the top of day two after arriving. For instance, if you happen to arrive on a Monday, this may be by the top of the Wednesday.

You can’t use a lateral stream till after 4am this Sunday. Before this time, you should use a PCR test after arrival. 

The totally vaccinated rules additionally apply to youngsters aged 17 and beneath, folks participating in an authorized vaccine trial, and individuals who are unable to have a vaccination as a consequence of medical causes. Click here for extra particulars

Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association commerce physique, mentioned: ‘This is a long- overdue and welcome step again to the pre-Omicron regime. It’s clear that the additional measures had little or no influence on the unfold on this new variant.’

Shai Weiss, chief government of Virgin Atlantic, mentioned: ‘Travellers can now e-book with confidence and stay up for reconnecting with family members and enterprise colleagues. Meanwhile… important testing capability might be reallocated the place it’s wanted essentially the most – in hospitals, colleges and essential nationwide infrastructure.’

Tim Alderslade, chief government of the trade physique Airlines UK, mentioned it will be a ‘large increase’ for the sector at a ‘crucial’ time of the yr.

‘People will now have the ability to e-book realizing that – for the totally vaccinated – all emergency testing restrictions have been eliminated,’ he mentioned.

‘Today marks an necessary step in direction of studying to stay alongside the virus, serving to passengers and the travel sector stay up for what will likely be an all-important spring and summer season season.’

EasyJet chief government Johan Lundgren additionally welcomed the transfer however mentioned the Government wanted to go additional.

‘This will make travel a lot less complicated and simpler and means our clients can e-book and travel with confidence,’ he mentioned.

‘However, the Government should now urgently take the ultimate step in direction of restriction-free travel and take away the final remaining pointless test for vaccinated travellers so flying doesn’t change into the protect of the wealthy.’ 

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport mentioned: ‘Although that is welcome information, there’s nonetheless a great distance again for aviation which stays the lifeblood of the UK’s financial system, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in all 4 nations.’

NHS lateral stream tests can’t be used for worldwide travel, and the tests should be introduced from a personal supplier. 

Those who’ve already introduced PCR tests for travelling wants can nonetheless use these.

Julia Simpson, chief of the World Travel & Tourism Council, mentioned: ‘The elimination of pre-departure tests and changing Day 2 PCRs with extra inexpensive antigen testing will considerably increase the UK travel and tourism sector and assist each it, and the entire UK financial system get well a lot quicker than anticipated.’ 

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