The government has confirmed the scrapping of pre-departure tests, as well as the need to self-isolate on return to the UK, from 4am on Friday.

The Prime Minister confirmed this afternoon that Brits returning from holiday will not need to complete pre-departure tests from Friday, January 7.

Speaking in the House of Commons, during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson stated that the current entry requirements were “having limited impact” when it came to preventing the Omicron variant from entering the UK.  

Person holding negative LFT

The UK government are set to bin pre-departure tests for return travel


New Pre-Departure Rules

In addition to the scrapping of pre-departure tests, the PM also confirmed those arriving in the UK will no longer need to isolate until receipt of a negative PCR test. Speaking earlier today Mr Johnson said: 

I can announce that in England from 4am on Friday we will be scrapping the pre-departure test, which discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense.

We will also be lifting the requirement to self-isolate on arrival until receipt of a negative PCR, returning instead to the system we had in October last year, where those arriving in England will need to take 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.

The news will come as music to the ears of both the industry and would-be travellers who’ve been put off visiting their favourite destinations. Due to over-complicated travel testing rules and fears of being stranded in another country following a positive test.

Under the current UK entry requirements, passengers heading to the UK are required to complete a pre-departure test no more than 72 hours before their journey. However, travel bosses argued the evidence that this measure did little to prevent the spread of Omicron in the UK was overwhelming.

The need to test on or before day 2 of arrival back in the UK will remain in place. However, travellers would only need to self-isolate on their return if they produce a positive lateral flow and subsequent PCR test.

woman in a mask standing with her luggage in an airport

Travel is set to become less complicated with new testing rules


Easing of testing regulations

In addition to the potential scrapping of pre-departure testing, the Prime Minister also announced a handful of new requirements in the UK’s fight against the Omicron variant.

Daily testing will now be required by 100,000 critical workers including teachers, couriers, and NHS staff. Plus, pupils will now need to wear masks in the classroom. The government have also placed the army on standby and retired teachers have been asked to return to the profession in a bid to aid struggling sectors.


Holidays are accessible in 2022

With those new regulations around pre-departure testing being announced today, this could be the start of the travel industry returning to ‘normal’.

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With offers available everywhere from Mexico to Mauritius, your next holiday is just a couple of clicks away. Find out more about the Big Blue Sale with our ultimate guide by clicking the button below.

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