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Covid tests for vaccinated travellers to be scrapped from February 11

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Covid tests for vaccinated travellers to England will be scrapped in time for February half-term.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the new rules would come into place from 4am on February 11 in a holiday boost.

In a statement to MPs on Monday, Mr Shapps said the Government was “scrapping all travel tests for vaccinated people”.

He said: “We promised we wouldn't keep these measures in place a day longer than was necessary and it's obvious to me now that border testing for vaccinated travellers has outlived its usefulness, and we're therefore scrapping all travel tests for vaccinated people.

“Not only making travel much easier but also, of course, saving about £100 per family on visits abroad, providing certainty to passengers, to carriers and (the) vital tourism sector for the spring and the summer seasons.”

Mr Shapps also said 12 to 15-year-olds will be able to prove their vaccination status on the NHS app from 4am on February 3.

The UK is also set to recognise vaccine certificates from 16 further nations.

Mr Shapps said: “That will include countries like China and Mexico, bringing the vaccine recognition total to over 180 countries and territories worldwide.”

He said reconnecting to key markets will not only “boost” the UK economy but also help the aviation industry to “take back to the skies”.

The aviation industry has given a warm welcome to the news.

British Airways Chairman and CEO, Sean Doyle, said the relaxation “sends a clear message to the rest of the world that global Britain is back in business”.

Sam Willan, Global VP of Marketing for StudentUniverse, said: “This is an important step-change for the travel industry, and in particular youth travellers aged 18-25 who are typically more budget conscious.

“The omicron variant caused consumer confidence to plummet in the immediate term, but we’ve seen a steady increase in interest for our core destinations over the last few weeks – in particular the US – and hope to see more optimism following these testing changes from 11 February. We are finally getting closer to travel freedom once more.”

The Conservative chairman of the Commons Transport Committee hailed a “landmark day for international travel” while the Transport Secretary said “I believe the days of having to go back to these big kind of lockdowns at the borders are past”.

Huw Merriman said the announcement was “a landmark day for international travel, a sector that has been absolutely decimated over the last couple of years. And with this news, this surely is the evidence they need that people should now feel confident to book with certainty”.

The prime minister earlier said changes to testing rules for international travellers who are fully vaccinated would be made given Britain is “moving through the Omicron wave”.

Speaking to broadcasters during a visit to the Academic Centre, Milton Keynes Hospital, Boris Johnson said: “We have, thanks to the tough decisions, the big calls that we made... the most open economy and society in Europe.

“And although we have to be cautious, we are now moving through the Omicron wave, and you can see the figures are starting to get better.

“So what we're doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travellers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated.”

Until now, vaccinated travellers have had to take a day two test and unvaccinated travellers must quarantine for 10 days and take a day two and day eight test.

Earlier this month, Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye, said the aviation industry will only fully recover when all restrictions are lifted.

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