The United Kingdom is scrapping all remaining travel restrictions this Friday, March 18 at 4 a.m.
What this means is that no one – including non-vaccinated individuals – entering the U.K. will need to take a COVID-19 test or complete a passenger locator form, which requires people to fill in travel details, their address in the U.K. and their vaccination status.
Britain's government is removing international travel restrictions, for everyone, ahead of the Easter holidays, the U.K.’s Transport Secretary announced on Monday (March 14).
In a government-issued press release, the move was called a “landmark moment” for passengers and the travel and aviation sector.
“The U.K. is leading the world in removing all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions and [Monday’s] announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other,” stated Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving.”
The changes reflect decisions set out in the Living with COVID plan, along with the U.K.’s vaccine and booster rollout, with 86 per cent of the population having received a second dose and 67 per cent of the population with a booster or third dose.
U.K.-based quarantine hotels, which have not been used since the “red list” of countries was emptied in December, but have been kept on standby just in case, will also discontinue from the end of March.
The news was welcomed by U.K. airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, which are beginning to ease mask mandates on some routes.
London’s Heathrow airport also announced Monday that travellers passing through the facility will no longer be required to wear a mask from Wednesday.
The announcements come as COVID-19 infections rise in all four parts of the U.K. — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — for the first time since the end of January.
Government stats posted Monday showed that there were more than 444,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the past seven days, which is an increase of 48 per cent from the week before.
In a statement, Tim Alderslade, chief executive of airlines U.K., said the government’s latest announcement “sends a clear message to the world” – that “the U.K. travel sector is back.”
“With travellers returning to the U.K. no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-COVID normality throughout the travel experience,” Alderslade said.