We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
From 4am tomorrow travellers no longer need to take a test before returning to the UK.
And people testing positive after a lateral flow test do not have to have a PCR confirmation.
Signalling his desire to avoid any return to lockdown, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons yesterday: “This Government does not believe we need to shut down our country again.”
Mr Johnson’s move to scrap measures imposed in November because of Omicron won the backing of senior Tories and business leaders.
It came after he chaired an online morning Cabinet meeting, which backed his decision not to impose new Covid curbs.
Ministers agreed to stick with his “Plan B” measures, including mandatory face masks in most public indoor settings and working from home where possible, for another three weeks.
They will carry out a further review before the regulations expire on January 26.
Mr Johnson said the Government was “taking a balanced approach” while strengthening the NHS.
He said: “All of these measures are helping to take the edge off the Omicron wave, slow the spread of infection, manage the immediate pressures on our NHS and buy time for the boosters to take effect. 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 on our travel industry.”
The Prime Minister said the pre-departure test deterred many from travelling in case they were trapped overseas and forced into “significant extra expense”.
In another boost for the travel industry, he said people would no longer have to self-isolate on arrival in the UK until they had received a negative PCR test result.
Instead, they will return to taking a lateral flow test no later than the end of Day 2 and, if positive, “a further PCR test to help us identify any new variants at the border”.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As we learn more about Omicron it is right we keep our testing and border measures under review to ensure they remain proportionate.
“The steps we’re taking will make travel easier for people while protecting the UK public from the virus.”
From next Tuesday, people in England who test positive on a lateral flow device need only record that result on the gov.uk website and start self-isolating.
Mr Johnson repeated his call for everyone to be fully vaccinated, saying it was “the very best way to save lives, reduce the pressure on our NHS and keep our country open”.
Senior Tories, including ex-premier Theresa May, praised Mr Johnson for standing firm against opposition calls for stricter Covid measures.
Mrs May said: “We will see new variants appear in the future and the likelihood is they will continue to be less serious. It is not in the national interest to partially or wholly shut down sectors of our economy every time we see a new variant.” Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Hospitalisations in London have peaked, so the Prime Minister was right to hold his nerve on new restrictions.”
Tory MP Mark Harper, a leading backbench critic of Covid curbs, urged Mr Johnson to set out a plan for the country to return fully to normality.
Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said businesses would “breathe a sigh of relief” that there will be no further Covid restrictions. She said: “The easing of testing requirements for travel should provide a welcome boost to a sector that has been among the hardest hit throughout the pandemic.”
However, Ms Essex called for “urgent action” to address issues over the supply of lateral flow tests to make sure workers were not isolating unnecessarily.
Manchester Airports Group CEO Charlie Cornish said: “The removal of these temporary measures is an important recognition that travel restrictions should not remain in place if they no longer help prevent the spread of the virus. By removing barriers to travel in what is a critical period for forwardbooking, passengers, airports, airlines and business across the UK can now plan ahead with confidence.”
What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said last night: “I’ve always said we won’t keep international travel restrictions in place any longer than they are necessary to protect public health. We want to provide more certainty to passengers and businesses and will do a full review of our international travel measures for 2022 by the end of the month.”
Meanwhile, health chiefs will monitor positive PCR tests for UK arrivals to check for new Covid variants.
Dr Susan Hopkins, of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “It is vital anyone who receives a positive Day 2 lateral flow test self-isolates immediately and orders a PCR.”
Another 194,747 virus cases and 334 deaths were recorded yesterday.
Source: Read Full Article