On Wednesday, 5 January, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to parliament and stated that the Omicron Variant countermeasures were less effective in preventing the virus but instead impacted the cost of travel. Hence, the UK will remove those measures from 4 AM (04:00 GMT) on Friday 7 January; fully vaccinated travellers travelling to England will no longer have to take a test before they travel.
And from Sunday, rather than taking a PCR test on day two of arrival, they can take a cheaper lateral flow.
The new rules are:
- From 04:00 GMT on Friday 7 January, people who are fully vaccinated and those aged under-18 will no longer need to take a test two days before travelling to England from countries outside the UK and the Common Travel Area. On arrival, they will have to take a PCR test, but they will no longer have to self-isolate while awaiting the result.
- From 04:00 GMT on Sunday 9 January, they will only have to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test on day two. But this test must be bought from a private test provider – free NHS tests are not allowed.
- Unvaccinated passengers will need to continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days.
According to the NHS, “Rapid lateral flow tests are for people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). The tests give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test”.
If a traveller tests positive with a lateral flow, they will be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate for up to 10 days.
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