These are the new Covid measures announced by Boris Johnson - as pre-arrival tests scrapped for travellers

Pre-arrival tests for people coming to England will be scrapped and Plan B measures maintained as Covid cases soar

Boris Johnson has announced the government is scrapping pre-departure Covid testing for travellers returning to the UK.

Requirements for holidaymakers to self-isolate on arrival until they receive a negative test will also be stopped at the end of this week.

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Mr Johnson said the government would continue with Plan B measures for another three weeks in response to the latest data.

So, when will travel restrictions be lifted in England - and what other new measures have been announced?

Boris Johnson leaves number 10, Downing Street ahead of the weekly PMQ session in the House of Commons on January 05 (image: Getty Images)

What did Boris Johnson say about lifting travel restrictions?

The Prime Minister told the House of Commons on 5 January that the pre-departure test will be dropped from 4am on 7 January.

He said: “Our balanced approach also means that where specific measures are no longer serving their purpose, they will be dropped. So, when the Omicron variant was first identified we rightly introduced travel restrictions to slow its arrival in our country.

“But now, Omicron is so prevalent these measures have a limited impact on the growth in cases while continuing to pose significant cost to our travel industry.

“So I can announce that in England from 4am on Friday, we will be scrapping the pre-departure test, which discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring in significant extra expenses.

“We will also be lifting the requirement to self-isolate on arrival until received a negative PCR, returning instead to the system we had in October last year where those arriving in England will need to take a lateral flow test no later than the end of day two and if positive, a further PCR test.”

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Schapps added that travel restrictions are no longer proportionate as the Omicron variant the government was trying to prevent is now so widespread in England and the UK.

Which other new Covid measures have been announced?

Boris Johnson said that Plan B will be in place for another three weeks with a further review before the regulations expire on January 26.

Until then, people in England should carry on working from home whenever they can, wear face coverings on public transport and in most indoor public places and take a test before going to high risk venues or meeting the elderly or vulnerable.

People in England with no Covid symptoms who have a positive lateral flow test will no longer need a confirmatory PCR test from January 11 (image: PA)

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has also announced from 11 January that asymptomatic people in England will no longer be required to get a confirmatory PCR test, if they test positive on a lateral flow.

Instead, only those who have symptoms will be told they must get a PCR test.

It comes as a further 194,747 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases have been recorded in the UK as of 9am on Wednesday, as at least 20 NHS Trusts have declared a critical incident.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner told the Commons: “Isn’t it time for the Prime Minister to be straight with people and give a frank assessment of the state of our NHS?

“He mentions the use of the army, but how many trusts have declared a critical incident and what does the Prime Minister plan to do about it?

“People in the north east are being told to call a cab or phone a friend if they’re suffering a suspected heart attack or stroke. That’s shocking.”

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner (image: Getty Images)

Will England face a fourth lockdown?

Boris Johnson said the government is taking a balanced approach - despite some MPs thinking not enough is being done to stop the Omicron wave and ease pressure on the NHS.

He said: “Faced with these pressures on our NHS, I know some members may ask the opposite question whether we should go even further and move towards a full lockdown, but lockdowns are not cost free, they impose a devastating toll on our physical and mental well being, on our businesses, jobs and livelihoods and worst of all on the life chances of our children, so this Government does not believe we need to shut down our country again.

“Instead we are taking a balanced approach.”

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