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Good news – ‘Day 2’ travel testing to end on 11th February

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Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, has just tweeted that ‘Day 2’ travel testing will end on 11th February at 4am.

Boris Johnson had leaked the announcement earlier in the day but had not confirmed the exact date.

It isn’t quite as simple as ‘no testing’, however.

 'Day 2' testing to end

The announcement only covers those who are fully vaccinated. Those who do not meet the requirement for ‘fully vaccinated’ will still need to undertake a ‘Day 2’ test – which must be a PCR – via a private provider. The ‘Day 8’ test will be scrapped and the requirement for 10 days of home quarantine will end. ‘Fit to Fly’ tests will still be required for the unvaccinated.

The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is also expected to change in the next few months, to include a booster vaccination. This would require people with two doses but no booster to be treated as if they were unvaccinated and require a ‘Fit to Fly’ test and a ‘Day 2’ PCR test.

Remember that a ‘Day 2’ test is not really a ‘Day 2’ test. You can take it at any point from the second that you arrive back in the UK, up to the end of your 2nd full day after landing.

Passenger Locator Forms will continue

Passenger Locator Forms will continue in some form. It was announced that they would be ‘shorter’ and that the timeframe for completion would be extended from 48 hours before travel to 72 hours.

NHS app to cover 12-15 years old from 3rd February

In another piece of good news – at least for me, as the father of a 14 year old – the NHS app will be extended to 12-15 year olds.

From 3rd February, anyone in this age group will be able to download the NHS app and access the ‘travel’ version of their covid pass.

'Day 2' testing to end

Industry feedback

British Airways’ CEO Sean Doyle said:

“Today’s announcement provides a welcome boost to the travel industry and UK economy. Finally fully-vaccinated customers can start to book with confidence whether they are doing business, going on holiday or reuniting with friends and family without the additional costly and time-consuming burden of testing. It sends a clear message to the rest of the world that global Britain is back in business.”

Virgin Atlantic said:

“Britain is now open for business and it’s vital that the aviation industry is allowed to lead the way in boosting prospects for economic recovery. The removal of all testing for vaccinated passengers is the final step in moving towards frictionless air travel, allowing passengers to reconnect with loved ones and business colleagues. It restores customer confidence and demand will be boosted in a critical booking window for the travel industry.

“We have demonstrated that international travel can operate safely, taking full advantage of our world leading vaccine rollout. To ensure certainty for the industry, we will continue to work with UK Government on an evidence-based framework for variants of concern, eliminating border closures which have proven to be ineffective.”

easyJet’s CEO Johan Lundgren said:

“We welcome this news knowing that millions of our customers will also be delighted to see the return of restriction free travel in the UK. We now look ahead to what we believe will be a strong summer.

“We believe testing for travel should now firmly become a thing of the past. It is clear travel restrictions did not materially slow the spread of Omicron in the UK and so it is important that there are no more knee jerk reactions to future variants.

“We commend the Government for removing all testing. easyJet plans to return to near 2019 levels of flying this summer and so we can’t wait to welcome our customers back onboard.”

Comments (81)

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  • Carlos says:

    Great, tracking for 12-15 year olds

    • NorthernLass says:

      Who’s tracking them? They don’t have to use the NHS app, just if they want to visit certain countries and not have to get a printed confirmation letter. Can’t see how this is an issue.

  • David S says:

    Just did my Day 2 test yesterday- failed miserably to get a working link to the XPresstest App. On a more positive note at T5, we were back in the car park within 10 minutes of landing. Never been through an Airport that quick before

  • Paul says:

    Good news, we just need to hope that the 426 cases of a new variant 2b (omicron’s little brother) are the harbingers of a new wave as the scientists seem to think at the moment.

    Austria lifted test to fly yesterday for fully vaccinated travelers ( including boosters) which should make the half term ski trip a bit less painful.

  • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

    Rest of the world doesn’t seem to be following England and Ireland towards the sunlight of restriction-free life sadly.

    • Rob says:

      Europe’s running about 4 weeks behind us, I guess. Clearly there will be some places that keep tracking / restrictions in place for political rather than practical reasons, of course (and of course some believe we removed them for political rather than practical reasons).

      • Supergers49 says:

        An unusual confluence of political self-interest and the right thing to do!

      • Patrick says:

        I strongly suspect that it’s the case for our Gallic neighbour: with elections in 3 months’ time, no sense in lifting the pass now

      • Rui N. says:

        The EU just agreed today to remove all travel restrictions and rely on the covid pass once again, so might even get implemented before the UK changes come into place.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          Only for intra-EU travel though. Better than nothing I suppose. Starting short trips from Dublin won’t break the bank

    • riku says:

      Certainly Finland (where I live) is lifting restrictions and also isolation rules for those who test positive. This is for people already in the country though. How you treat people entering the country is different to how you treat those living their day to day lives inside and the UK media (and this website) is mostly concerned with how Brits are treated when visiting other countries, not what it’s like for those who live there.

      • Andrew says:

        Switzerland has removed travel-related tests for fully-vaccinated however which is good news

      • Alastair says:

        I also live in Finland and had to escape to Estonia last week as I’m fed up of not being able to actually do anything here, such as use a gym or cinema, or visit a bar or restaurant after work. I’m flying to the UK next week for the same reason. My employer also forbids using the office in order to look responsible. I see there is talk of lifting restrictions here but they’re so much more than the UK has had in a long time. If travel here was unrestricted I couldn’t recommend it right now for that reason.

    • Geoff 1977 says:

      Yet some people in England are still going on about “mental health” even though everything opened in July

    • ChrisC says:

      Dutch Government making a decision today and an announcement tonight for their next stage which is expected to opening things up.

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