From 11th February, in time for the half term break, fully vaccinated (currently two doses of an approved vaccine or one dose of a Janssen vaccine) travellers arriving in the UK will no longer have to take a post-arrival lateral flow test – the only requirement will be to complete the passenger locator form to verify their status. This will save around £100 for each family on journeys abroad and provide certainty for our tourism sector as we enter the spring and summer.
Those who are not fully vaccinated must still take a post-arrival PCR test on day 2. However, they also no longer need to take a day 8 test or self-isolate on arrival. This is to ensure that new variants can be identified should they arise, so public health can be protected whilst taking us a step closer to normality.
Under 18s will continue to be treated as fully vaccinated passengers for the purposes of travelling to the UK, meaning they will face no tests at the border. From 3rd February those aged 12-15 in England will be able to prove their vaccination status via the NHS pass for international travel, helping provide certainty for half term.
From 4am on 11th February we will recognise vaccine certificates from an additional 16 countries including Mexico and China, this brings the total number of countries and territories vaccines recognised to over 180.
Many countries around the world have indicated in all likelihood that entry will require a booster dose by the summer. For certainty as we approach the spring and summer getting the booster is a quick and easy way to make sure your plans aren’t spoilt when you arrive at your destination.
The option of red list restrictions remain should a variant of concern emerge which poses a substantial risk to public health. However, the Government are looking at moving towards a more targeted system based on surveillance of covid infections overseas and cooperation with our international partners.
For all of those who have not yet been vaccinated, if you are eligible, please do so. It is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your local community. If you have had both of your doses and are still waiting to get your booster don’t delay. Book here: https://www.nhs.uk/book-a-coronavirus-vaccination
I attach a link here to the Secretary of State's speech to the House of Commons on Monday: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/upcoming-changes-to-covid-19-international-travel-restrictions