Travel column with Katie Butler: New Covid testing requirements for returning back into England

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What a busy start to the new year with plenty of new bookings, along with several changes to later in the year and 2023.

Katie Butler writes: Last week we saw the testing requirements eased for vaccinated passengers returning back into England, which also brought an influx of enquiries for last minute bookings.

So what are the new testing requirements for returning back into England?

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The Prime Minister announced last week that the requirement for pre-departure tests for people travelling to England would be lifted from 4am on Friday, January 7.

Holiday bookings are up as travel restrictions are eased. Photo: Getty ImagesHoliday bookings are up as travel restrictions are eased. Photo: Getty Images
Holiday bookings are up as travel restrictions are eased. Photo: Getty Images

Also, in addition to removing the test in resort the Prime Minister announced that you would no longer be required to take a PCR test when you get home.

This has now been replaced with a lateral flow/antigen test.

The changes apply to fully-vaccinated travellers and children under the age of 18 travelling with fully-vaccinated adults.

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In a nutshell if you are fully-vaccinated and returning back to England you are simply required to complete a passenger locater form within 48 hours of travelling home and then a lateral flow/antigen test when you return home no later than the end of day two.

The requirements for those not vaccinated remains the same as they were last year.

You will need to complete a passenger locater form before you travel to England.

A pre-departure test is required and you must book and pay for PCR tests on day two and day eight.

In addition you will be required to isolate for ten days.

When can we expect the next travel review?

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The government had previously followed a pattern of reviewing the travel requirements every three weeks, however, the arrival of the Omicron variant at the end of November meant that travel updates were announced as and when the government saw fit.

We expect the next announcement to be towards the end of January when it has been said a full travel review of the current measures will be announced to ensure that a stable system is in place for 2022.

Whilst it is all looking a lot brighter for British holidaymakers coming back home, it is important to remember that each destination has its own set of restrictions and requirements to get there in the first place.

If we look at how this worked last year, most holiday destinations allowed double-vaccinated passengers to enter without the need for any type of test for entry, whilst those not fully-vaccinated were either unable to travel unless for essential purposes or could gain entry with proof of a negative test.

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It certainly looks like it will remain to be all about the vaccine if you want to travel easily.

It has been a long time since we experienced a shop full of holiday bookers and last Saturday surprised us all.

It almost felt like the good old days!

Our inbox is full of enquiries for new holidays and if people are not booking they certainly have a holiday on their mind right now.

Let’s hope it continues.

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