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UK ends Covid test requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers

The British government has from Friday brought an end to testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, including the post-arrival Day 2 tests that travellers from Europe have previously been forced to pay for.

UK ends Covid test requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers
Photo: Sam van de Wal/AFP

Announcing the changes, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This country is open for business, people arriving no longer have to take tests if they’ve been double vaccinated.”

The new rule came into effect at 4am on Friday, February 11th.

The UK had already scrapped the requirement for pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated arrivals, so this change means that no tests at all are required for fully vaccinated arrivals. 

The Passenger Locator Form is still required, and must be completed before boarding transport to the UK, but passengers can upload proof of their vaccination status instead of a Day 2 test booking reference.

The UK does not require a booster shot in order to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated still require a pre-departure test and a Day 2 test, but will no longer have to quarantine on arrival or take a second PCR test after arriving.

Under 18s do not require any tests. 

Member comments

  1. The EU has completely ignored how well England and devolved nations have fared whilst removing restrictions. While in Germany could not imagine granting freedoms back to the people. And despite numbers the overloards are adamant its either worse or about to get worse.

  2. Looks like this text part is from previous regulation version, so should be amended.

    “However it is still mandatory to pay a private company for a Day 2 test, which is taken on or before the second day or your stay in the UK. Under current rules the Day 2 test can be an antigen test rather than the more expensive PCR tests, and arrivals do not have to quarantine while awaiting the results.”

    1. The new rules don’t come into force until Feb 11 so the article is stating what is currently in force.

    2. This will be scrapped from feb 11th or 12th for all vaccinated people.
      Unvaccinated are still required to book day 2 and day 8 tests. And isolation for 10 days. To be shortened to 5 with the purchase of an extra test.and entry into a government scheme.

      1. The UK also added that it will be scaling down travel restrictions for unvaccinated arrivals. From February 11, 2022, those who are not fully vaccinated, will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before the second day after they arrive in the United Kingdom, and fill out the PLF. Only those testing positive will have to self isolate.

  3. But then here in Germany I think you have to consider the death rate compared to the UK.
    Find more statistics at Statista
    We have nothing to shout about.

  4. In fact in the UK the number of covid deaths is nearly double that of Germany per million inhabitants. I feel much safer over here.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: What’s behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

Travellers are reporting queues over an hour long at Stockholm's Arlanda airport. What's going on and how long is it expected to last?

EXPLAINED: What's behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

What’s the situation at Stockholm Arlanda airport? 

On Friday morning, there were queues lasting over an hour at Arlanda’s security controls. By 10am, they had been reduced to below half an hour, according to the live update the airport operator, Swedavia, maintains on its website here

Swedavia first began warning of long queue times on Monday, saying the queues were the result of a resurgence in travel combined with staffing shortages at Avarn, the contractor responsible for managing the security checks. 

“The wait times are due to a staff shortage with our security services contractor – which is caused by ongoing recruitment and absences due to illness,” the airport said on its website

What are travellers saying? 

Twitter is predictably awash with angry comments from travellers, including some well-known commentators. 

The terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp resorted to capital letters to bemoan the “CATASTROPHE” at the airport. 

The Financial Times’ Nordic Correspondent also compared the situation at Arlanda unfavourably with the smooth controls at Helsinki Airport

“Never seen anything like it and sounds like might be worse today. In Terminal 5 both queues, SAS and Norwegian, were well over 100 metres long,” he told The Local. “It took me 50 minutes to get through security. Don’t think it’s ever taken more than 10 in the Nordics before.” 

What should you do if you are travelling through Stockholm Arlanda at the moment? 

Swedavia recommends that you arrive “well in advance” when taking a flight. You can contact your airline here to find out when their check-ins and baggage drops open.  

Swedavia also recommends that you do everything possible to speed up the check-in process, such as:

  • checking in from home
  • packing hand baggage to make screening faster
  • checking the need for a face covering in advance
  • checking that you have the right travel documents ready 

If you can’t check in from home, Swedavia recommends seeing if you can check in using an automated machine at the airport.

What is the airport doing to to improve the situation? 

On June 15th, the airport is reopening Terminal 4, which might help somewhat, although the airport warns that as staffing is the major problem, having more space will not fully solve the problem over the summer. 

In a press release issued on Friday, Svedavia’s chief operations officer, Peder Grunditz, said opening a new terminal was “an important measure”. 

“We are now going to have the three biggest terminals back in operation for the first time since the pandemic,” he said. 

The company and Avarn are also making “big recruitment efforts” and taking “operational measures” to improve the queue situation, although the “challenging labour market” made that difficult. 

When will waiting times return to normal? 

In his press release, Grunditz conceded that waiting times were not likely to return to normal during the summer, due to the rapid growth in the number of people taking flights. 

“Even though we expect gradual improvements, the queuing situation is going to continue to be challenging during periods over the summer,” he said. 

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