Representative image | Photo: AFP
London: The UK government will lift all its remaining COVID-19 pandemic related international travel restrictions from this Friday, including the requirement for travellers to fill in a compulsory Passenger Locator Form prior to entering the country.
From 4 am GMT on Friday, arrivals into the UK will no longer be required to submit travel details or take a PCR test even if they are unvaccinated. The change would remove the remaining rules in place for unvaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test and another test two days after arrival.
“The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions, and today's announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday evening.
“I said we wouldn't keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we're delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays. I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving,” he said.
The Easter break in April is a popular holiday period in the UK and the changes have been timed to help families make travel plans without the need for additional requirements.
“As we learn to live with COVID-19, we're taking further steps to open up international travel once again ahead of the Easter holidays,” said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants and keep a reserve of measures that can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe. We can remove these final restrictions thanks to the incredible success of our vaccination programme, which has seen more than eight out of 10 adults across the UK boosted,” he said.
According to official figures, 86 per cent of the UK population has received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 67 per cent of the population has had a third top-up booster dose.
The UK government said that it will maintain a range of “contingency measures in reserve”, which would enable “swift and proportionate” action to delay any future harmful variants of COVID-19 entering the country. According to officials, the default approach in future will be to use the “least stringent measures”, if appropriate, to minimise the impact on travel as far as possible, with contingency measures will only be implemented in extreme circumstances.
All remaining compulsory hotel quarantine capacity in place will also be fully released from the end of March.
Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said: “The announcement sends a clear message to the world – the UK travel sector is back. With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-COVID normality throughout the travel experience.
“We're grateful for the timing of the announcement as we prepare to welcome back passengers this Easter and summer, for which we know there is huge pent-up demand, and for the UK's leadership in being the first major aviation market to remove all remaining restrictions. The time to return to the skies – to enjoy all that makes aviation and international travel great, for families and businesses – is now.” PTI