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What are the latest UK Covid travel test rules and when will they be scrapped?

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  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019

The Covid testing rules for travellers arriving in England from abroad are changing.

Boris Johnson announced Covid tests for double-jabbed international travellers will be scrapped.

Travellers will no longer need to take Day 2 lateral flow tests within 48 hours of arriving in England.

Here’s the detail on the new testing regime for travellers:

What has Boris Johnson said about change to testing rules?

Mr Johnson said changes to testing rules for fully vaccinated travellers will be made as Britain is “moving through the Omicron wave”.

The Prime Minister 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.”

When will the changes come into effect?

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

It will be implemented before half term.

What were the rules before?

A pre-departure test before travel for double-jabbed holidaymakers arriving in England was scrapped at the start of January.

Initially the rule was implemented in December to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

What happens if I test positive after returning to the UK?

People who test positive for Covid will have to self-isolate for five full days rather than seven from Monday January 17 after two negative lateral flow tests, Sajid Javid has announced.

Health Secretary Mr Javid told the Commons: “After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.

“From Monday, people can leave isolation at the start of day six, subject to two negative lateral flow tests taken a day apart, with the first of these tests being no sooner than Day 5.”

What about the red list?

The red list was scrapped in October but later resurrected due to fears over the new Omicron variant. It has since been axed.

Can I get a test from the NHS?

NHS tests cannot be used for international travel. You must purchase a test from a private company.

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