UK eases COVID test requirement for international travelers

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced to the House of Commons the lifting of the requirement to hold a negative pre-departure travel COVID-19 test before entering England from overseas from January 7, 2021, at 04:00 local time. 

The requirement to self-isolate upon arrival in England until receiving a negative PCR test result will also be scrapped.

Instead, travelers are expected to have to take a lateral flow test at the end of day two after arriving. If that test proves positive, a further PCR test will be required in order to identify any new variants.

The Prime Minister reported that the prevalence of the Omicron variant had limited the impact of restrictive measures. 

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) reacted positively to the announcement. “The removal of these temporary measures is important recognition that travel restrictions should not remain in place if they no longer help prevent the spread of the virus,” MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Government on a roadmap for the removal of all remaining restrictions, in order to help our prized aviation sector enjoy a full recovery.”

On December 15, 2021, the UK government removed all 11 countries that were on its travel red list.

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