Covid 19 travel restrictions including tests and passenger locator forms removed for all travellers coming into the UK
The UK's remaining coronavirus travel restrictions are being stood down today (Friday) as the country continues on its path to 'living with Covid'.
Despite rising cases in England, international travellers coming into the country, regardless of their vaccination status, no longer need to take Covid19 pre-departure or arrival tests or complete passenger locator forms.
The changes came into effect at 4am this morning (Friday).
Remaining hotel rooms reserved for mandatory quarantine are also expected to be returned at the end of March which, says ministers, makes the UK one of the first major economies in the world to end all of its Covid 19 international travel rules.
The pandemic has started grabbing headlines again in the past few days as cases rise across the country.
But despite the current domestic picture, the government has pressed ahead with its plans to remove remaining travel restrictions before the April Easter holidays and says it has contingency plans in place to deal with any future variants of concern.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "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."
So far in the UK, 86% of the population, says the Department of Health, have had a second coronavirus dose, while 67% have received a third jab or booster injection. There are also plans to give older people a fourth - or additional - booster this spring, but details of this proposed roll-out are not yet clear.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: "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. 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."
Those contingency measures, the government says, will only be implemented in 'extreme circumstances'. It will also work closely with the UKHSA, which continues to monitor the prevalence and spread of harmful Covid 19 variants and keeps international data on the pandemic under constant review.
Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, welcomed today's changes to travel rules.
He said: "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."
While there will be no border health measures on arrival in the UK from today, many other countries do still require passengers to comply with requirements and so travellers should continue to check official government travel advice in order to keep up to date with the rules when holidaying elsewhere.