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When is the next travel update? Date UK Covid travel restrictions could lift - and what new rules could be

Boris Johnson has stressed the importance of getting a Covid booster vaccine if people want to travel abroad this summer

The Prime Minister has announced Covid-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England will be scrapped.

An exact date for the rule change has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to come into effect before the February half-term break.

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A booster vaccine is expected to become a requirement for travelling abroad (Composite: Kim Mogg / JPIMedia)

The news follows last week’s announcement that all Plan B restrictions will be lifted in England from Thursday (27 January).

The relaxation to measures, which include Covid passes, work from home guidance, and wearing of face masks, comes following a drop in infections and a belief among scientists that the Omicron wave has peaked in the UK.

Boris Johnson has signalled his intention to start treating coronavirus in the same way as flu, with plans to remove the legal requirement to self-isolate when regulations expire on 24 March.

But when is an update on travel rules expected? Here’s what you need to know.

When is the next travel update?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will announce details of the new travel regulations in a statement in the House of Commons on Monday (24 January) afternoon, following a meeting of the Cabinet’s Covid-19 operations committee.

The update comes after major airline bosses wrote to the government demanding an end to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

In the letter, they asked that restriction-free travel was restored “at the very least” for those who are fully vaccinated.

The letter was signed by the heads of Ryanair, easyJet, Loganair, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Jet2, as well as the chief executives of holiday travel group Tui and trade body Airlines UK.

What travel testing rules could change?

The next travel update will see the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to take a Covid-19 arrival test scrapped, with the rule expected to come into effect in time for the February half-term holidays.

The move will mean families can return from abroad without having to take a lateral flow test on day two of their arrival back in the UK, which is currently required under government rules.

The rule change will only apply to those who have had at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and live in England.

On a visit to Milton Keynes Hospital on Monday, Mr Johnson said: “What we’re doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travellers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated.”

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have recently implemented Westminster’s changes to international travel rules, so it is likely that similar changes will be made across the rest of the UK.

It is also expected that fully vaccinated arrivals will only have to complete a simplified version of the passenger locator form, and vaccines used by more countries will be recognised for travel.

On a visit to Milton Keynes Hospital today, Mr Johnson said: “What we’re doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travellers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated.”

Travel testing rules were already eased slightly earlier this month after pre-departure tests were scrapped, meaning travellers no longer have to take a test before returning to the UK.

Day two PCR tests and self-isolation on arrival in the UK have also been scrapped.

Instead, fully vaccinated travellers now only need to take a lateral flow test on day two of their arrival, and only have to self-isolate if the result is positive.

Those who are unvaccinated must still quarantine at home for 10 full days on arrival in the UK, and take a PCR test on day two and day eight.

Will a booster jab be needed for travel?

The Prime Minister has stressed the importance of getting a booster vaccine if people want to travel abroad this summer, suggesting the top-up dose will become a requirement for foreign holidays.

Health Secretary Sajid javid has previously said that a booster jab will soon be needed to be classed as fully vaccinated in the UK, with the change to come in “once all adults have had a reasonable chance to get their jab”.

Mr Johnson has also spoken about the likelihood that three vaccine doses will become an “important fact” in the future, particularly for foreign travel.

Speaking in the Commons last week, he said: “We will certainly review testing arrangements for travel and the Health Secretary will be making a statement in the next few days on that.

“I think it’s very important everybody in the country understands that getting your booster, wherever you want to go in the world, getting your booster is going to be a pretty crucial thing to do.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman added: “Our expectation is that the vast majority of countries in the world will expect people to be boosted for entry into their country and so it’s vitally important that everyone understands that if you do want to travel this summer, you almost certainly will need to have been boosted.”

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