Pre-departure tests could be ditched in Covid Plan B update – ‘more relaxed approach’

Simon Calder discusses food and drink ban on French rail

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Pre-departure tests were reintroduced as the Omicron variant rapidly spread around the world. Reports now suggest they could be ditched in this week’s Plan B update.

The Government is due to review the current coronavirus measures in an update this week.

Some senior Conservative MPs have argued that the pre-departure tests are no longer important now that Omicron is the dominant strain in the UK.

A source told The Times: “Pre-departure tests were brought in to try to slow the spread of Omicron and stop it coming into the UK.

“Now that Omicron is dominant in the UK and everywhere it reduces the argument for having it.

“We have other ways of slowing the spread through domestic testing.”

Ministers have said there is currently nothing in the data to suggest more restrictions should be brought in this week, although they haven’t ruled anything out.

Sir Graham Brady said: “The PM made the right call over Christmas and New Year, trusting people to make the right choices in their own lives and throwing a lifeline to the struggling hospitality sector.

“We now need to see this extended to international travel, which is facing yet more restrictions at a crucial time in the booking season. If a more relaxed approach is good enough for the domestic economy, given what we know about Omicron, it should be good enough for travel too.”

Currently, every person travelling to the UK must take a test in the two days before arriving in Britain.

They must also take a PCR test on or before day two after arrival in the UK and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Tests must be booked using a Government approved provider and many travellers have complained about the high prices.

Some British families have seen hundreds of pounds added to the price of a family holiday due to testing.

Many working in the travel industry have argued for the scrapping of pre-departure tests since Omicron became dominant.

Paul Charles, Ceo of the PC Agency, tweeted: “Pre-departure tests will be going in this week’s review of Omicron rules, so should arrival PCR tests and self-isolation.

“These particular measures kill off inbound business and leisure travel and still cost a small fortune on top of the trip itself. LFT tests are good enough.”

The Government has not confirmed if it will be ditching pre-departure tests in this week’s update.

Twitter user, Eric, tweeted: “I hope on January 5, pre-departure tests and day two PCR will be scrapped for British people coming home or at least fully jabbed.”

Several people within the travel industry have claimed that the price of tests has led British holidaymakers to cancel trips.

Depending on their destination, Britons may also be required to take one or more tests on their holiday.

British tourists are advised to check the UK Government travel advice website before going on holiday for the latest restrictions.

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