Covid travel rules tweaked for vaccinated arrivals to UK – all the latest updates

Travel ban: Epidemiologist says ‘closing borders does not work’

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The travel industry has been devastated by coronavirus, with flights suspended for much of the pandemic and free movement largely restricted. Now, with the Omicron variant proving the virus isn’t leaving anytime soon, testing, isolation and quarantine must suffice to allow people to travel safely.

What are the latest changes?

There has been a small tweak to the rules for people arriving in the UK.

All arrivals must take a PCR test within your first 48 hours of arriving in the UK – if it’s positive, you need to isolate, of course.

But the new rules state that fully vaccinated positive cases can be released after seven days (rather than the previous 10) if a negative lateral flow test is produced on days six and seven.

This brings travel rules in line with the rules for all vaccinated positive cases in the UK.

What are the other rules for arriving in the UK?

Wherever you’ve been, there are a number of strict requirements you need to follow to re-enter the UK.

Note the testing rules do not apply to travellers from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man (unless they have been in another country in the 10 days before departure for the UK).

The rules differ for those who are unvaccinated, with a longer mandatory quarantine period.

Here is the full set of rules:

Before departing any country to head to the UK:

All travellers to the UK aged 12 and over have to show proof of a negative test, even if they are fully vaccinated.

This can be a PCR or a lateral flow test, and must be taken in the two days before departure for the UK.

You’ll need to find a private test provider for this – free NHS tests are not allowed.

The test can be taken either in the country where you start your journey or in another country en route to the UK.

If you test positive, you must follow the rules in the country you’re in, and not travel to the UK.

In addition, all travellers coming to the UK must fill in and submit an online passenger locator form no more than 48 hours before arriving – even if they are just passing through the UK.

After arriving in the UK:

You have two days to take another test – which must be a PCR.

This must be booked before you travel, and bought privately from a government-approved list of providers.

While you are waiting for a result, you must self-isolate – whether or not you have been vaccinated. You can stop self-isolating if your test is negative.

Everyone aged five and over (11 and over in Scotland) must take these tests.

If you’re not fully vaccinated, you will have to quarantine for 10 full days, with testing required on days two and eight in the country.

You can only be released after the full 10 days, regardless of test results.

Get vaccinated now – book your vaccine here.

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