According to sources close to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Britain plans to halt all COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travelers traveling internationally by the end of January.
On January 26, the official announcement will be made, coinciding with a review of the emergency Plan B procedures put in place to deal with the Omicron surge. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is widely likely to lift practically all pandemic restrictions given that daily infections are declining.
Only fully vaccinated travelers with recognized proof of immunization will be affected by the change. Travelers who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated must nevertheless perform three COVID-19 tests and self-isolate for ten days.
After been pressured by the British airline and travel industries, Grant Shapps is thought to be in favor of the rule modification. He’ll still have to persuade other cabinet members, particularly Health Secretary Savid Javid, who has previously overridden Shapps.
When the Omicron version was originally discovered, travel testing was increased, but the emergency measures were unable in stopping the spread of the extensively modified virus.
Because Omicron has become the prevalent form across the UK, Britain withdrew the necessity for pre-departure testing earlier this month.
Pre-departure testing, government ministers conceded, was deterring individuals from traveling because they were afraid of testing positive abroad and being prevented from returning. Airlines UK hailed the measure as a significant step toward “learning to live alongside the virus.”
Post-arrival testing has remained in place, albeit the necessity for an expensive PCR test has been reduced, with travelers now only needing to undergo a quick antigen test on or before day two after arrival.
The travel industry has complained that post-arrival testing is still prohibitively expensive for many families and that the policy is affecting bookings.
On January 26, work-from-home instructions and vaccine passports are likely to be phased out, although face masks for public transportation may stay in effect for the balance of the cold and flu season.