Pre-departure test rule scrapped for travellers arriving from abroad from 4am on Friday (Details Here)
Wednesday 5 January 2022 10:16 PM UTC
LONDON Jan 6: The UK government announced changes on Wednesday to Covid travel rules for England, scrapping the need for visitors to have pre-departure tests and quarantine on arrival until they have tested negative.
The new arrangements under which arrivals will be able to take a lateral flow in the first two days after travel rather than a more expensive PCR test come as official data showed one in 15 people in England were infected with coronavirus in the last week of 2021.
The UK, already among the worst hit countries in Europe by the pandemic with virus deaths of nearly 150,000, has seen a fresh surge in cases due to the arrival of the Omicron variant in late November.
Updating lawmakers after daily case numbers crossed the 200,000 threshold in recent days, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said travel curbs beefed up last month to contain the strain were now ineffective.
“Now Omicron is so prevalent, these measures are having limited impact on the growth in cases, while continuing to pose significant costs on our travel industry,” he told MPs.
“So I can announce that in England from 4:00 am (0400 GMT) on Friday we will be scrapping the pre-departure test, which discourages many from travelling….”
PM Johnson noted only those testing positive on lateral flow devices would be required to then do a further PCR test “to help us identify any new variants at the border”.
However, he also announced testing rules for the general population in England without symptoms would be eased to help mitigate the fallout from the record infection levels.
Asymptomatic people who test positive will no longer require a confirmatory PCR test from January 11.
Instead, those who receive a positive result on a lateral flow device will be required to self-isolate immediately, without getting the PCR confirmation.
A similar system will be rolled out in Scotland and Wales from Thursday.