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UK government to relax Covid testing rules for arrivals from Europe

People travelling to England will face a less strict Covid testing regime from Friday, the British government has announced.

UK government to relax Covid testing rules for arrivals from Europe
Photo: John Thys/AFP

British transport minister Grant Shapps announced that the new rules, which for the time being only concern arrivals into England, will come into force at 4am on Friday, January 7th.

Fully-vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to take a pre-departure test if travelling to England.

The complicated and expensive ‘Day 2’ testing system remains in place, requiring a pre-booked test to be done within two days of arrival in the UK. 

READ ALSO How to book that Day 2 test for the UK

However this too is set to be relaxed, with fully vaccinated arrivals no longer needing to isolate until their test results arrive.

Travellers can also book the less expensive antigen (lateral flow) test, rather than a PCR test if they arrive after 4am on Sunday, January 9th.

France maintains its near-total ban on travel to or from the UK – although a French government spokesman said on Wednesday that this could be lifted soon – while several other countries have stringent measures in place for arrivals from the UK. 

The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to release details on whether they will follow suit. 

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SAS

SAS cancels 1,700 flights in September and October

Scandinavia's SAS airline has cancelled 1,700 flights in September and October as a result of continuing staffing problems, the Danish travel trade newspaper Check-in has reported.

SAS cancels 1,700 flights in September and October

According to the newspaper, 1,200 departures planned for September have been cancelled, as have around 500 planned departures for October.

Domestic flights in the Scandinavian region and international flights within Europe are both affected, with the airline blaming the after effects of the 15-day pilot strike it suffered in July

“We are not seeing reduced demand – quite the opposite,” Alexandra Lindgren Kaoukji, the head of press for SAS in Danmark, told the newspaper. “But when it comes to personnel, the strike has affected staffing in the coming months.”

She said there was also pressure from people taking late holidays. “But it’s also the late delivery of planes to SAS Link, which is affecting capacity.”

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day SAS pilots’ strike in July.

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

READ ALSO: SAS pilots approve new collective agreement

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