Covid test rules eased for travellers in England - Cruise International

Covid test rules eased for travellers in England

By Katie McGonagle | 5 Jan 2022

Cruise travellers will no longer need to take a Covid-19 test before returning to the UK or a PCR test on arrival


The relaxation of testing requirements took effect from 4am on Friday, January 7, the prime minister confirmed.

Travellers still need to take a lateral flow test on or before day two of their return to the country, and follow up with a PCR test if they get a positive result. They must also comply with cruise lines’ and destinations’ own testing requirements, which may include vaccination and testing prior to boarding.

Speaking in the House of Commons, prime minister Boris Johnson said: “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 are having limited impact on the growth in cases, while continuing to pose significant costs 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 significant extra expense.

“We will also be lifting the requirement to self-isolate on arrival until receipt of 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 to help us identify any new variants at the border.”

The UK government had reintroduced stricter testing measures – including the need for an antigen test before returning to the UK, self-isolation on arrival and a PCR test taken on or before day two – in December, shortly after the Omicron variant was identified.

Andy Harmer, UK & Ireland managing director of cruise industry body Clia said: “We welcome the changes in testing rules for travellers arriving in England. With the peak holiday booking period under way, measures that allow for more seamless travel are vital.

“We will continue to work with government to help cruise and other travel industries further open up.”

The change was announced on January 5 for travellers returning to England, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following suit on January 6.

Picture: Unsplash/Guido Hofmann

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