After the fantastic update that came out Wednesday, January 5th, there is still more great news to come. Travel can continue to anticipate more certain plans for travel after Grant Shapps revealed government plans to ‘stabilise travel’ that could be set into motion later this month.
Not only this, but Ireland announced over Twitter on Wednesday the 5th of January that they will no longer require proof of pre-departure tests from vaccinated travellers entering the country. And Scotland have dropped pre-departure testing and self-isolation on arrival for all fully vaccinated travellers and travellers under the age of 18.
Plans to ‘Stabilise Travel’ to Come Later This Month
Speaking on Thursday the 6th of January, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, revealed that the government were creating plans to ‘stabilise travel’. Shapps said that the government were creating a ‘tool kit’ to help protect the UK against any new Covid variants that may come without disrupting travel.
In this address, Shapps acknowledged that the sudden changes in travel restrictions that have occurred over the past few months have worried and confused travellers. It is because of this that the government aims to set out a clear structure to travel rules, which they will reveal later in January.
“I recognise it’s complicated and difficult when they change,” said Shapps. “Later in the month, we will be coming back with our thoughts about stabilising the system for what we hope is the rest of 2022. But we never entirely know with the coronavirus.
“I could see a world in which we did not need to do testing at all. But I cannot guarantee it will be the same the other way round because that depends on what other countries around the world decide to put in place.”
These changes could involve using the red list again if new Covid variants arise, however, Shapps explained it could also mean an end to all testing for travellers entering the UK, which would be a huge step and could make travel more affordable for more people.
Shapps also said that he suspects many countries will continue to use vaccination status as the main reference point for travellers who wish to enter. Destinations may still require testing, however, so don’t forget to keep up to date on destination restrictions on the Foreign Travel Advice page.
Ireland and Scotland Drop Pre-Departure Testing
On Wednesday the 5th of January, Ireland announced that they would no longer require evidence of a negative PCR test taken before departure from fully vaccinated arrivals.
This comes around the same time as the UK government announced that pre-departure tests would no longer be required (you can find out more about how the UK testing restrictions were relaxed in our article).
In both cases, the pre-departure testing requirements were put in place in early December as a precautionary measure against the spread of the Omicron variant. However, this has become unnecessary as Omicron is now the dominant strain in Ireland and the UK.
This decision went into action on Thursday the 6th of January, meaning all fully vaccinated arrivals is Ireland will now no longer be required to take a pre-departure test.
Unvaccinated travellers entering Ireland still need to provide proof of negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before departure to Ireland.
In Scotland, the government has aligned with the English government on testing restrictions. From Friday the 7th, fully vaccinated travellers and travellers under 18 won’t need a pre-departure test, nor will they need to self-isolate upon arrival while they wait for their day-2 test results.
These arrivals will still need to take a day-2 test, however, from Sunday the 9th of January this will be a lateral flow test, no longer a PCR. This will make travel just that bit more affordable during the pandemic.
If the lateral flow test comes back positive, then the traveller will need to take a free, confirmatory PCR test.
It is great news to see Ireland and Scotland united with England and Wales on this decision to remove pre-departure tests, keeping travel simple and efficient for UK vaccinated travellers.
So, if you’re looking forward to booking a great holiday under the new plans to stabilise travel that are to come, don’t forget to get in contact with a travel business registered with PTS and offering 100% financial protection through trust. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of the lovely PTS members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988.
And if you’d like to learn more about your consumer protection with PTS or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages and articles.