January 5, 2022 4.43 pm

Pre-departure COVID tests for UK arrivals set to be scrapped

Plan B to stay for three more weeks

Pre-departure tests for people coming to the UK will be scrapped from this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

The pre-departure tests will be stopped from 4am on Friday, January 11.

In a speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Johnson also revealed Plan B restrictions would remain for another three weeks until at least January 26.

Earlier today, the UK Health Security Agency announced people who get a positive lateral flow test will no longer have to get a confirmatory PCR test afterwards.

Mr Johnson told MPs that when measures are “no longer serving their purpose they will be dropped” as part of the government’s balanced approach.

“Now Omicron is so prevalent, these measures have a limited impact on the growth in cases while continuing to pose significant costs to our travel industry.”

He said the test “discouraged people from travelling through fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense.”

Updating MPs on the current situations Mr Johnson said health bosses had doubled the rate of vaccination with more than 90% of over 70s and 86% of over 50s now reached.

However, he said the country was also seeing a rapid rise in cases with more than 15,000 COVID patients in hospital in England alone and the fastest growth in COVID cases “we’ve ever known”.

“People in England should carry on working from home whenever they can, wear face coverings on public transport and in most indoor public places, and take a test before going to high risk for use or meeting the elderly or vulnerable,” said Mr Johnson.

“All of these measures are helping to take the edge off the Omicron wave, slow the spread of infection, manage the immediate pressures on our NHS and buy time for the boosters to take effect.”

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