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All Covid travel restrictions axed in UK on Friday

All remaining coronavirus travel measures will be axed in the UK at the end of the week, paving the way for more stress-free holidays.

Travel bosses have celebrated the announcement, which brings two years of ever-changing restrictions to an end.

But the move comes as Covid cases rise in all four UK nations for the first time since the end of January.

Unvaccinated people will no longer need to be tested to travel to the UK from 4am on Friday.

Passenger locator forms, which normally track people after outbreaks of the virus, have been scrapped.

From the end of March, the UK will fully end its hotel quarantine capacity, with there currently being no red list countries requiring their use.

Meanwhile, Heathrow said passengers would no longer be required to wear masks from Wednesday – although they will continue to be strongly recommended.

The changes will allow ‘greater freedom in time for Easter’, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday.

FILE - Passengers arrive at Gatwick Airport, in London, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. Vaccinated travelers can now enter Britain without taking any coronavirus tests. Starting Friday, Feb. 11, 2022 British residents and visitors who have had at least two doses of a coronavirus vaccine now only need to fill out a passenger locator form before traveling to the U.K. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, FILE)
There is no need for passenger locator forms from Friday (Picture: AP)

Praising the vaccine rollout, he said it will mean ‘you can travel just like in the good old days’.

The announcement makes it clear ‘the UK travel sector is back’, Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK carriers, added.

‘With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-Covid normality throughout the travel experience’, he added.

However, some health experts have raised concerns about the timing of the news.

The number of hospital patients with Covid is rising, up 19% week-on-week in England – although this remains far below the peak reached in the Omicron wave.

Meanwhile, case levels in Scotland are at a record high, while hospital patient numbers are the highest in 13 months.

‘It is disappointing that as we hit record levels of Covid, Grant Shapps is saying it’s safe’, Professor Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London, told Sky News. ‘People do still need to wear masks.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Licensed to Story Picture Agency/REX/Shutterstock (12468030c) Signs reminding travellers of Covid-19 regulations and health tips stand at Passport Control of Heathrow Airport T5. Many restrictions and rules are still very much in place, with passenger locator forms a necessity. Heathrow Airport covid signs, UK - 26 Sep 2021
(Picture: Licensed to Story Picture Agency/REX/Shutterstock)

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has reassured the public the Government will continue to monitor and track new variants.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said a ‘range of contingency measures’ will be kept in reserve so ministers can ‘take swift and proportionate action’ if any concerning new variants of coronavirus emerge.

The department said they would ‘only be implemented in extreme circumstances’, but it was understood the measures will include targeted testing from a country that has seen a new variant emerge and scientists continuing to monitor their spread.

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