Shapps says Covid travel testing regime has ‘outlived its usefulness’
The current Covid testing regime for people entering England has “outlived its usefulness” according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Under rule changes coming later this week travellers will be able to replace a day two PCR test with a lateral flow test and pre-departure testing will be scrapped.
“If you take a lateral flow test and get your result immediately, rather than waiting a day or sometimes more then you can act faster on it and the action of course is immediate,” Shapps said in comments to the BBC. “In some senses we will get to knowing that result quicker.”
Shapps said that the public should do away with the idea that Britain is a “safe haven, but the rest of the world is dangerous.”
“Omicron is everywhere,” Shapps said. “We have very large numbers of Omicron cases here there are a large numbers of cases elsewhere. We are an international country we need to be able to travel.”
When rule changes come into effect on Friday unvaccinated passengers will need to continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days.
Airline companies cheered news that the testing regime will be relaxed for vaccinated flyers.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said the changes would make travel “much simpler and easier”, as customers could now book and travel with “confidence” the BBC first reported.
Read more: Empty planes: Omicron onslaught and travel restrictions hit Ryanair’s passenger number