Beginning on Friday, vaccinated travelers will be able to enter the UK without having to undergo any coronavirus testing, as the government lifted one of the final restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 over the past two years.
British residents and visitors who have received at least two doses of an approved coronavirus vaccine now only need to fill out a passenger locator form before traveling to the UK. Unvaccinated people must still take tests before and after arriving, but they are no longer required to self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
As per transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the UK “now has one of the world’s most free-flowing countries, sending a clear message that we are open for business.”
After two years of severely restricted travel, airlines and other travel companies praised the change as a lifeline. A statement to Andrew Flintham, managing director of travel company Tui UK, there is “a huge restrained demand for international travel,” and people are rushing to book vacations for the February school break and the Easter holiday in April.
Face masks are no longer required in most indoor spaces in England, and vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and large-scale events, as well as official advice to work from home, have been ditched. Most restrictions have also been lifted in other parts of the United Kingdom, including Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Officials credit the government’s booster jab program with keeping the omicron outbreak from causing major stress in UK hospitals. In the United Kingdom, 84.6 percent of people aged 12 and up have received two doses of a vaccine, with nearly two-thirds receiving a third, booster shot.