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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

COVID-19: UK Scraps Pre-departure Testing and Self Isolation


Following frantic calls from airlines and travel industry stakeholders, the United Kingdom has announced the relaxation of rules on COVID-19 testing for people travelling to the UK. The announcement was made yesterday by UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

From 04:00 GMT on Friday 7 January, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers coming to the United Kingdom will no longer be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before they travel.


Similarly, from Sunday 9 January, 2022, travellers to the UK can take a cheaper lateral flow test rather than taking a PCR test on the second day of their arrival in the UK.

The rules for self-isolating on arrival will also change under the new rules. On arrival, travellers to the UK will have to take a PCR test but will no longer have to self-isolate while awaiting the result.


Under the new rules, however, unvaccinated passengers will still need to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days.

Currently, all fully-vaccinated travellers must show proof of a negative test lateral flow or PCR test taken within two days before coming to the UK. Fully vaccinated travellers are also currently required to take a PCR test within 2 days of arrival and self-isolate while waiting for the result.


Under the current rules also, people who aren't fully vaccinated must take PCR tests on both day two and day eight after arriving in the UK, and also self-isolate for 10 days at their own expense.

The announcement to eliminate pre-departure testing and post arrival isolation comes after airlines said testing wasn't making any real impact on the spread of the virus. According to recent data, one in 25 people in England have the virus.

Industry stakeholders have been commenting on the new rules. Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO said: "We welcome the Prime Minister's announcement today which removes unnecessary barriers and expense, allowing our customers to once again book with confidence."

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