Self-isolation for unvaccinated travellers to be scrapped in time for half-term

Unvaccinated travellers are to be spared self-isolation in the biggest easing of travel restrictions by ministers for more than a year.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is expected to announce that travellers who have not been jabbed – including children – will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days.

He will also confirm that fully vaccinated travellers will not have to take any Covid tests, with the current day two lateral flow swabs scrapped, according to industry sources. 

It follows the ending of pre-departure and PCR tests for vaccinated travellers earlier this month. It will mean a return to test-free travel for the first time since autumn 2020.

The moves, which will take effect in England from 4am on February 11, will be hailed by ministers as a major filip for families and holidaymakers in advance of the February half-term break.

All travellers will still be expected to fill out a passenger location form. However, the only distinction between jabbed and unvaccinated will be the continued requirement for those who have not had their Covid jab to take tests.

Anyone who is not jabbed will still be expected to take a pre-departure test within 48 hours of their entry to the UK and to complete a day two PCR test after their arrival.

This could add around £80 to £100 to the cost of a foreign trip, with tests required to be registered on the passenger location form.

Ministers are also expected to confirm plans to change fully vaccinated status to include a third or booster jab, although they are not expected to set a timescale for its introduction.

The lifting of tests on fully-vaccinated travellers was signalled by Boris Johnson during a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital on Monday.

Speaking ahead of a Covid O Cabinet committee meeting on Monday to agree the changes, the Prime Minister said the country was moving through the omicron wave and “things are starting to get better”.

“On travel, to show the country is open for business, we will see changes that people no longer have to take tests if they are double vaccinated,” he said.

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