Covid: Pre-departure fling tests comprise outlived their usefulness

By Dulcie Lee

BBC News

Media caption,

Transport secretary says day two PCRs will be replaced by lateral drift tests

The most modern Covid testing system for folks travelling to England has “outlived its usefulness”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says, as Omicron is now “in type and worldwide”.

Sooner than a rule commerce later this week, he stated the system – introduced to unhurried Omicron’s unfold – had “performed its part”.

Pre-departure tests will pause for fully vaccinated travellers and day two PCRs will be replaced by lateral drift tests.

Mr Shapps stated ministers would “maintain certain a salvage system is in impart for 2022”.

The shake-up, announced on Wednesday, got here after fling corporations stated the measures weren’t effective now Omicron used to be spreading broadly.

Below the most modern tips in force till Friday, all fully vaccinated travellers over the age of 12 must suppose proof of a unfavorable lateral drift or PCR test taken within the 2 days earlier than coming to the UK. Fully vaccinated folk must also pay for a PCR test internal two days of arrival and self-isolate whereas attempting ahead to the consequence.

These who don’t appear to be fully vaccinated must currently take PCR tests on both day two and day eight after arriving, and self-isolate for 10 days.

  • From 04: 00 GMT on Friday: fully vaccinated travellers and under-18s will no longer must take a pre-departure test two days earlier than travelling to England. On arrival, they’re going to must take a PCR test but could well not must self-isolate whereas staring at for the consequence
  • From 04: 00 GMT on Sunday: they’re going to handiest must take a lateral drift test somewhat than a PCR test on day two. This test must be bought from a non-public provider – free NHS tests will not be allowed
  • Unvaccinated passengers will must continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and to self-isolate for 10 days

Of us going in a foreign country could well quiet continue to test the fling tips for their bound set aside country.

Scotland’s health minister Humza Yousaf spoke of his “frustration” that the adjustments were announced for England handiest, regardless of UK-wide talks on what the tips must be. He stated he would give an replace on Thursday afternoon, whereas Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan stated Wales would “reluctantly” align with England.

In the intervening time, Downing Avenue stated it could well well continue to witness at what it technique to be “fully vaccinated” given what is well-known about waning immunity. In the intervening time, “fully vaccinated” refers to folk who comprise had two jabs, but in Scotland the term is now being archaic to point out those which comprise had their booster.

Two doses of some vaccines offer nearly no safety from an Omicron an infection, despite the indisputable fact that they would possibly well quiet quiet drastically lower the threat of desiring health center care. But a third booster prevents around 75% of oldsters getting any Covid signs.

Dr Sarah Pitt, virologist at the University of Brighton, stated it used to be “entertaining” to test folk earlier than they obtained on a aircraft, as about one in three folk who comprise Covid attain not comprise signs but is also infectious to others.

“It be not that that you may presumably be a distinct threat from having been travelling, but folk must be testing themselves continually anyway,” she stated.

PCR tests were archaic for travellers as they are in a impart to distinguish between diverse variants, in difference to lateral drift tests.

Asked whether the guideline commerce could well point out original variants are missed among folk coming back from in a foreign country, he stated any individual who had a definite lateral drift test must get a PCR test via the NHS so it will also be checked for original variants the exercise of sequencing ways.

Mr Shapps stated the UK had a substantial elevated degree of sequencing than another country on this planet, so it used to be monitoring original variants very fastidiously “regardless of whether it begins here or in diverse areas”.

He warned that stricter fling measures could well presumably be reintroduced if yet another variant of anxiety emerged, and earlier tweeted that the tips could well be reviewed by the pause of the month.

The fling industry welcomed the comfort of the tips.

EasyJet chief govt Johan Lundgren stated the adjustments would maintain fling “a ways more helpful and more straightforward”, as prospects could well now e book and fling with “self assurance”.

Chief govt of fling affiliation Abta, Mark Tanzer, stated it used to be “doubtlessly very definite”, but that fracture had “already been performed”.

“We now hope to witness self assurance return as we enter what is in total the height reserving season for summer holidays,” he added.

Steve Heapy, boss of the airline Jet2, also stated the timing of the announcement would maintain a “gargantuan distinction”.

Will the adjustments have an effect on your fling plans? Part your experiences by emailing [email protected].

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