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Thursday, September 23, 2021

End of PCR tests in sight for fully vaccinated travellers

Sajid Javid has signalled the end of PCR tests for fully-jabbed holidaymakers as travel chiefs called for all tests for people arriving from low-risk countries to be scrapped.

The Health Secretary told MPs on Tuesday that they could expect the Government’s global travel review, due this week, to replace the expensive PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests.

Travel industry chiefs are, however, concerned that the prospect of even two lateral flow tests – up to 72 hours before departure and on day two of holidaymakers’ return to the UK – will deter people from flying abroad.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, 13 chief executives representing Britain’s main airlines, airports, tourism and business groups urged him to scrap all tests which were placing an “unnecessary and unfair” burden on vaccinated travellers.

“We urge you to acknowledge the damaging and detrimental effect this ineffective regime has on the UK’s competitiveness, on the inbound visitor economy, and on people visiting loved ones, enjoying hard-earned holidays or travelling for important business connections,” they wrote. 

“Removing testing requirements for vaccinated passengers is an essential step towards solving these problems, without which the aviation sector and wider travel industry cannot recover.”

The Prime Minister also confirmed that the traffic light system would be simplified and the burdens of testing made “less onerous” for those returning to the UK.

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