The United Kingdom is eliminating the requirement to get a COVID-19 PCR test for most vaccinated tourists later this month, a British official confirmed Thursday. By Alison Fox
Starting October 24, fully vaccinated tourists will be able to opt instead for the cheaper and faster lateral flow test, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps tweeted, adding it would “make travelling easier and simpler for everyone.”
The new rule will apply to any vaccinated traveller coming from countries that are not on the UK’s red list, according to the government. This also applies to eligible travellers under 18.
Earlier this month, the UK eliminated the need for vaccinated travellers from most destinations to get tested before departure, including from the United States of America. Travellers, however, must book a test to take on or before the second day of their trip.
“Taking away expensive mandatory PCR testing will boost the travel industry and is a major step forward in normalising international travel and encouraging people to book holidays with confidence,” Shapps said in a statement.
Travellers will have to book a lateral flow test with an approved private provider on the government’s website, which they can do starting on October 22. The government said travellers will have to take a photo of their lateral flow test and booking reference.
Travellers may also be able to book a test to take upon arrival at testing centres in some airports.
“We want to make going abroad easier and cheaper, whether you’re travelling for work or visiting friends and family,” Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said in the statement. “This change to testing is only possible thanks to the incredible progress of our vaccination programme, which means we can safely open up travel as we learn to live with the virus.”
The decision to simplify travel to the UK comes as the USA prepares to open its border to vaccinated international travellers on November 8, according to Reuters.
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