All Covid tests for fully-vaccinated travellers ditched

Holidaymakers who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to take any Covid tests for travel abroad, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Speaking on a visit to a hospital, the Prime Minister said that day two lateral flow tests – which are currently required for fully vaccinated people entering the UK – would be ditched, saving a family of four around £120. The changes are expected to come into effect at 4am on February 11.

It follows the ending of pre-departure and PCR tests for vaccinated travellers earlier this month and will be seen as a major filip for the travel industry in advance of the February half-term break. The changes are expected to come into effect at 4am on Feb 11.

Holiday firms have already reported a surge in bookings for half term after the easing of restrictions and in anticipation of further lifting of curbs.

Speaking ahead of a Covid-O cabinet committee meeting on Monday, Mr Johnson 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 during his visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital in Buckinghamshire.

Covid passes for 12- to 15-year-olds 

Children aged 12- to 15-years-old are also set to be given access to digital Covid passes in time for half term. At present they are excluded from using the pass system, curbing their ability to easily prove their vaccination status.

This presents issues for families travelling to countries such as France, Italy and Spain, which require all over-12s to be double vaccinated, or else face tougher restrictions such as quarantine or daily testing.

Parents are forced to request an NHS letter confirming the vaccination status of their under-16s, if they wish to evade these measures. The letters, which can be sought using the NHS 119 hotline or online, contain a QR code like the app.

Bookings to all holiday destinations have already jumped by 67 per cent on average compared with December 2021, according to analysts Skyscanner.

Some international and long-haul beach and sun destinations are seeing demand return to levels above that in 2019 before the pandemic, according to the company.

The destinations with the fastest growing bookings are Maldives (up 125 per cent), Mexico (up 110 per cent), Costa Rica (72 per cent), Colombia (48 per cent), and Tanzania (39 per cent).

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “When it happens, it will be a terrific boost for the travel sector and crucially for consumers. It will mean cheaper holidays and business trips and the end of the testing nightmare the industry has faced for nearly two years.”

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