Major Covid Testing Travel Change Could Be Put In Place By The End Of January
The UK could see a major change in travel restrictions by the end of this month.
Under current requirements people must take a lateral flow test two days after they return to the UK, with a positive result sending them into 10 days of isolation, which they can leave early if they have negative tests on days six and seven.
The isolation period is due to drop to five days starting from tomorrow, January 17, for people who are fully vaccinated, following an announcement from health secretary Sajid Javid. Now, it’s reported more changes could be on the horizon.
Vaccinated travellers may not need to take Covid tests on their return to the UK as the government is reportedly planning to lift all travel restrictions by the end of January.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps is aiming for January 26 as the date to scrap testing requirements for travellers who have been fully vaccinated, the day the government is expected to lift Plan B Covid restrictions, The Times reports.
‘We are looking at removing all Covid tests for vaccinated travellers by the end of January, which is likely to coincide with the review of the plan B measures on 26 January,’ a source close to Schapps said.
The rules on testing and travel were last updated earlier in the month, as from January 7 onwards fully vaccinated travellers entering England no longer had to take a test before their journey and the testing requirements after arrival were dropped from a PCR test to a lateral flow test.
However, the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ could also be set to change as ministers are expected to update it to mean people who have received their Covid booster, if the definition changes then those who have been double jabbed will no longer count as fully vaccinated, The Independent reports.
The government are ‘hopeful and optimistic’ they can lift restrictions on working from home and Covid passes by the end of the month, though the legal requirement to wear masks in shops and on public transport could stay, Mirror reports.
The restriction rules are due to end on January 26, and a vote in the House of Commons would be required to extend them beyond that time.
Labour have said they hope Plan B measures can come to an end but warned that prime minister Boris Johnson’s decisions must not be driven by an attempt to move on from the scandal surrounding Downing Street parties during lockdown.
Senior government health adviser Dr Susan Hopkins has said that although case figures are relatively high, the number of Covid infections in parts of the UK appears to have plateaued, which is a cause for optimism, The Guardian reports.
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