British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a slight loosening of requirements for travelers arriving in the UK. However, covid tests will be axed only for fully vaccinated. Now they must do a pre-departure test and two post-arrival PCR tests.
From 7 January, travelers who have had two doses of vaccine no longer have to take a covid test before they travel. Instead, it is enough to show a vaccine certificate.
And from 9 January, two post-arrival PCR tests will also be scrapped for travellers. Instead, they will only have to take a post-arrival lateral flow test (LFT). If the result is negative, a person will be able to travel freely without any restrictions. If an LFT is positive, the result must be confirmed with a PCR test. If they take a PCR test and it is positive, they must self-isolate.
It is important to pay attention that vaccines should be approved by the World Health Organization. These include Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sinovac and some others. Unfortunately, the WHO does not approve Sputnik V and other vaccines. Sputnik vaccinated passengers, like unvaccinated ones, will be required to provide results of a PCR test taken no later than 48 hours before crossing the border. In addition, they are still required to self-isolate for 10 days after arrival and take PCR tests on days 2 and 8 of their arrival in the country.
Moreover, all passengers are still required to fill in a passenger locator form (PLF) about their purpose and stay in the country. A PLF was developed by the Department of Health and Social Care to monitor possible cases of new virus strains in the country.
The easing of entry rules for travellers was welcomed by the tourism industry, which has been one of the sectors hit hardest by coronavirus lockdown measures. However, this step has raised public fears because the country is experiencing a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases. As of 6 January 2022, 179,731 people were reported ill. By comparison, as of 6 December 2021, the number of cases was 50,850. Most of them were infected with the Omicron variant.
In the UK more than 37 million people have already been vaccinated. Despite the coronavirus spread, the situation is still considered to be positive. Boris Johnson has said that the UK will not follow the example of some other countries in introducing mandatory vaccination. According to him, vaccines should be voluntary and not violate the right to free choice. At the same time, he criticised those who conduct anti-vax campaigns and called on to use only verified scientific data and do not trust rumours on the internet. In addition, the Prime Minister announced other easing of the coronavirus regime that should be expected in the future.
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