Holidaymakers who are double-vaccinated will no longer have to take any Covid tests for travel abroad, Boris Johnson has said. The Telegraph has more.
Speaking on a visit to a hospital, the Prime Minister said that day two lateral flow tests – which are currently required for fully vaccinated people entering the U.K. – would be ditched, saving a family of four around £120. The changes are expected to come into effect at 4am on February 11th.
It follows the ending of pre-departure and PCR tests for vaccinated travellers earlier this month and will be seen as a major filip for the travel industry in advance of the February half-term break. …
Holiday firms have already reported a surge in bookings for half term after the easing of restrictions and in anticipation of further lifting of curbs.
Speaking ahead of a Covid-O cabinet committee meeting on Monday, Mr Johnson said the country was moving through the Omicron wave and “things are starting to get better”.
“On travel, to show the country is open for business, we will see changes that people no longer have to take tests if they are double-vaccinated,” he said during his visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital in Buckinghamshire. …
Bookings to all holiday destinations have already jumped by 67% on average compared with December 2021, according to analysts Skyscanner.
Some international and long-haul beach and sun destinations are seeing demand return to levels above that in 2019 before the pandemic, according to the company.
The destinations with the fastest growing bookings are Maldives (up 125%), Mexico (up 110%), Costa Rica (72%), Colombia (48%), and Tanzania (39%).
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “When it happens, it will be a terrific boost for the travel sector and crucially for consumers. It will mean cheaper holidays and business trips and the end of the testing nightmare the industry has faced for nearly two years.”
But why only the double-vaccinated? Nobody now pretends that two vaccine doses provides any kind of protection against Omicron infection. The UKHSA estimates vaccine effectiveness of two doses against Omicron after six months of just 0-10%. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has stated that two doses are “not enough for Omicron… We have seen with a second dose very clearly that the first thing that we lost was the protection against infections”. Government data show infection rates in the double vaccinated have been considerably higher than in the unvaccinated across most age groups for some months. Where then is the evidence behind this continued restriction on the unvaccinated? It has no scientific basis, plainly is now solely to add coercive pressure to the unvaccinated to get the jab, and should be dropped.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Professor David Paton has skewered the “anti-science” in the Government’s latest move: “UKHSA data report double vaccinated adults are currently testing positive at much higher rates than unvaccinated. So of course post-travel testing is (rightly) dropped for the former but kept for the latter. More anti-science from the Government.”
Stop Press 2: Self-isolation for unvaccinated travellers will also end on February 11th, according to the Telegraph – though the requirement to test will remain.