The UK’s Department for Transport has announced the suspension of certain travel restrictions for those with a complete vaccination schedule.
From February 11th, 2022, at 4 am, fully vaccinated people traveling to the United Kingdom will be exempt from the COVID-19 testing requirement. From that date, they will only be required to fill out the Passenger Locator Form before arrival. And soon, they will have an additional day to do this.
The Passenger Locator Form includes the person’s vaccination status, travel history, and personal data such as contact information. The British authorities have stated that the form will be simplified, too.
On the other hand, those who do not qualify as fully vaccinated will need to take a COVID-19 diagnostic test before departure and a PCR test within 48 hours after arrival in the United Kingdom. But they will be exempt from the travel quarantine requirement if the results of their tests are not positive.
The new travel norms have the approval of the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care and they are meant to reactivate the travel and tourism sector in the country during the school holidays.
In this sense, travel rules have also been simplified for children between 12 and 15 years old in England. From February 3rd, 2022, they are able to use their digital NHS COVID Pass to prove that they are fully vaccinated or that they had a previous COVID-19 infection and successfully recovered from it.
Inward travel in the UK is enabled for all children under 18 years old even if they are not fully vaccinated.
“We have entered a new chapter in our fight against COVID-19 and we’re taking a balanced approach as we learn to live with the virus,” said Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid in a statement in which the success of the UK’s booster vaccination program was emphasized.
As the British authorities say, the booster shot has proven to diminish the effects of Omicron on vaccinated people’s health. And Omicron is now the dominant variant both in the UK and the world, overcoming Delta.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps declared: “We made the right calls at the right time and thanks to our vaccine and booster rollout it’s paying off – allowing us to safely remove nearly all COVID-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers”.
According to the statement, the United Kingdom is one of the first western European countries that suspended the travel quarantine requirement for non-fully vaccinated travelers. It’s also one of the European countries with the least strict travel rules, noted Grant Shapps, who celebrated the reopening of the British economy by the hands of tourism and international travel.
In spite of being near normality in that aspect, the UK will preserve the list of red countries in case a new COVID-19 variant appears. The possibility of a new variant of concern makes the British government look for more practical solutions for travel quarantine, such as home isolation instead of hotel quarantine.
Last but not least important, the UK will now recognize the vaccination certificates of China, Mexico, and other 14 countries. In total, there are more than 180 countries whose vaccination certificates are valid in the UK.