How to get a Covid pass for travel

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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.

On a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital on Monday, Boris Johnson said the changes to travel arrangements would 'show the country is open for business' On a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital on Monday, Boris Johnson said the changes to travel arrangements would ‘show the country is open for business’ Credit: Adrian Dennis/PA Wire

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 it, curbing their ability to easily prove their jab status.

The current exclusion of 12 to 15-year-olds from the app causes problems for families travelling to countries such as France, Italy and Spain, which require all over-12s to be double vaccinated. If they are not, they 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.

Travel industry sources said the app should be able to record previous Covid infections, confirmed by a PCR, which can be used for entry to other countries in place of vaccination. However, it was not clear it would also apply to lateral flow test results, which are now accepted.

Even before the new announcements, bookings to all holiday destinations have already jumped by 67 per cent on average compared to December 2021, according to analysts Skyscanner.

Some international and long haul beach and sun destinations are seeing demand at levels above 2019, according to the company.

The 10 most in-demand holiday destinations for 2022, according to Abta

The destinations with the fastest growing bookings are Maldives, up 125 per cent, Mexico, up 110 per cent and Costa Rica up 72 per cent. Bookings to Colombia have risen 48 per cent, while bookings to Tanzania have increased by 39 per cent.

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