UK to remove all remaining Covid travel restrictions

The UK government will remove the remaining restrictions on international travel for all passengers ahead of the Easter holidays, with restrictions lifted from 4am on Friday 18 March.

The measures being removed include the requirement for travellers to fill out a passenger locator form for arrivals into the UK, as well as all tests for passengers who do not qualify as vaccinated. This change removes the need for unvaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test and a day 2 post arrival test.

This step reflects the decisions taken by the government, as set out in its 'Living with Covid' plan, and which it says has been made possible due to the success of the UK’s vaccine and booster rollout, with 86% of the population having received a second dose and 67% of the population with a booster or third dose.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, and today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other.

“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays.”

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel association ABTA, said: “The removal of all remaining Covid travel measures is a watershed moment for the travel industry. With no more tests or forms to fill in on return to the UK, travel is finally starting to return to normal and many more people will have the confidence to go ahead and book a long-awaited holiday.

“With destinations around the world also continuing to relax their entry restrictions, international travel is becoming easier as we approach the Easter holidays and look ahead to the summer. We would encourage anyone who is thinking of booking a holiday to speak with an ABTA Member for expert help and advice, and to understand any Covid measures which may remain in the country they plan to visit.”

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, added: “With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-Covid normality throughout the travel experience. We’re grateful for the timing of the announcement as we prepare to welcome back passengers this Easter and summer, for which we know there is huge pent-up demand, and for the UK’s leadership in being the first major aviation market to remove all remaining restrictions.”

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