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Britain drops arrival testing

Travel tests will soon be a thing of the past for the UK.

The British government is to drop the requirement for arrival tests from next month.

From 4am on February 11 (in other words, in time for the British school half-term break), vaccinated travellers arriving into England and Scotland will no longer have to take a lateral flow test.

Rules have also eased for unvaccinated travellers who will no longer have to take a day eight test or self-isolate.

The Passenger Locator Form, which all travellers into Britain must complete prior to arrival, will also be simplified and travellers given an extra day to complete it. Currently it must be filled out within 48 hours of travel.

Wales and Northern Ireland are yet to confirm that they too will be easing their testing requirements, but it is expected that they will follow suit.

The UK has already scrapped the requirement for departure tests for fully vaccinated travellers and children under 18 years. It’s hoped that easing time-consuming and expensive travel regulations will boost the beleaguered travel industry.

“After months of pre-departure testing, post-arrival testing, self-isolation, additional expense, all that fully vaccinated people will now have to do when they travel to the UK is to verify their status via a passenger locator form,” said UK transport minister Grant Shapps.

The Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson also welcomed the move, saying the measures were “extremely welcome” for the tourism and aviation sectors.

And from February 3, children aged 12 to 15 years and vaccinated in the UK will be able to prove their vaccination status via the digital NHS pass for international travel. Previously only those 18 years and over were able to access the NHS pass.

The UK is also set to recognise vaccine certificates from a further 16 nations, including China. This will take the total to 180 countries and territories that are recognised.

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