UK and Europe ease travel restrictions
Vaccinated travelers will no longer need to take a Covid-19 test after arriving in England, while The European Union will be moving towards a new system of travel rules based more on a person’s vaccination status than where they are from.
The UK will stop requiring vaccinated travelers to take a Covid-19 test after arriving in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week.
The new rules follow a recent lifting of pre-flight testing requirements and are part of a general easing of Covid-19 restrictions as the UK begins to treat the virus as endemic.
“To show that this country is open for business, open for travel, you’ll see changes,” Johnson told broadcasters in a pooled interview. “People who arrive no longer have to take tests” if they are doubly vaccinated, he said.
The new changes, which take effect Feb. 11, will lower the cost of travel and give consumers more confidence that their plans won’t be changed at the last minute, Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps told lawmakers on Monday. Airlines, which have sought to lift all testing requirements, are sure to get a boost, as are hotels and restaurants.
Carriers welcomed the government’s decision, which comes ahead of next month’s half-term school holidays, followed by spring break and the busy summer season.
“Today’s announcement is a welcome boost to the UK travel industry and economy,” said British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle, adding that the new rules would allow travelers “to book with confidence, whether they are doing business, going on vacation or reuniting with friends and family without the costly and time-consuming added burden of testing. This sends a clear message to the rest of the world that Great Britain Global Britain is back in business.
The number of international flights currently scheduled from the UK during the February holidays has increased sixfold from a year ago, although it remains 41% below 2020, before the entry into force of the first European lockdowns, according to data from aeronautical analysis company Cirium.
In the meantime, recommendations adopted by EU member states will reduce restrictions on travelers depending on where they are coming from, provided they hold a valid digital Covid certificate showing vaccination, recovery from illness or recent test. Exceptions will always be authorized for travelers coming from particularly at-risk areas.
EU officials have said the wide spread of omicron across the continent means it is time for countries to abandon various travel rules they have adopted in recent weeks, which include requirements for additional testing and quarantine periods.
“It is time to consider abandoning the additional travel measures that a number of member states have introduced over the past few weeks, making travel more cumbersome and less predictable in the EU,” the EU said. European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, and Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders. in a joint statement.
“We are now calling on all Member States to quickly implement the common rules to ensure coordination and clarity for our citizens and travellers.”
The EU coordinates travel policies across the bloc, but it is up to each government to implement its own rules, which should come into force on February 1.
This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here