No10 will consider scrapping Covid tests for ALL travellers in January


No10 will consider scrapping Covid tests for ALL travellers in January as aviation minister says he wants to see travel industry ‘bounce back’ from pandemic

  • Aviation minister Robert Courts said No10 was looking to ‘review’ the measures
  • He added: ‘We all want to reduce not just testing but all the restrictive measures’
  • Ministers require arrivals to test themselves for Covid, even if they are jabbed 


Covid tests for travellers returning to Britain could be scrapped entirely in January, a Government minister said today.

Aviation minister Robert Courts said No10 was looking to review the measure at the start of 2022 to help the sector ‘bounce back’ from the pandemic.

He told aviation leaders during a conference at Westminster today: ‘We all want to reduce not just testing but all the restrictive measures.’ 

Currently., everyone travelling to the UK — regardless of whether they are jabbed — must take a test after they enter the country.

Ministers dropped the costly requirement for £70 PCR tests for vaccinated people in September, and replaced them with cheaper lateral flow tests. 

But Mr Courts suggested the measures were still restricting the sectors’ ability to recover from almost two years of disruption.

For those who are not vaccinated, they must take a Covid test up to three days before they travel and two and eight days after they arrive in the UK.

Aviation minister Robert Courts said No10 was looking to review Covid test requirements for arrivals in January. (stock photo)

Mr Courts told the Airlines 2021 conference: ‘We all want to see aviation bounce back. 

He went on: ‘We’re going to review the policy in January. We’ll be looking to see what we can do at that stage.’ 

Willie Walsh, the former boss of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said the current measures were still ‘overly restrictive’ and had been in place for ‘far too long’.

Britain will be ‘first country in the world’ to beat the pandemic, says Nadhim Zahawi 

Britain will be the first country in the world to beat the pandemic, Nadhim Zahawi claimed today.

Mr Zahawi, the former vaccines minister, said it was ‘absolutely the right thing’ to drop all restrictions in July and allow the virus to spread during the warmer months when the NHS was less busy — despite huge criticism at the time. 

He suggested the UK would be the first major economy to transition from pandemic to endemic because it frontloaded its Delta cases and is racing ahead of most of its EU neighbours in administering booster vaccines. 

Mr Zahawi told LBC Radio: ‘Our four-step plan meant that we were able to open up the economy in the summer. Some said it was a mistake — I think it was absolutely the right thing to do.’ 

In a sign that boosters could be rolled out every year, he added: ‘We will probably, I hope, without being complacent, be the first major economy in the world to demonstrate how you transition (from) pandemic to endemic using vaccines.’ 

He told the summit the Department of Transport needed to be ‘more vocal in defending the aviation industry’. 

He said: ‘It has a job to do to ensure that other parts of Government understand the critical contribution that aviation makes, which I think has been taken for granted in the UK for far too long.’ 

January is one of the most important times for the travel industry because it is when many people book their summer holidays. 

Ministers scrapped the ‘amber’ category in the traffic light system in September to simplify rules for heading abroad.

But the ‘red’ list — requiring arrivals to quarantine in hotels at their own expense — has remained in place.

No countries are on the red list at present, however, showing ministers are not concerned that outbreaks in other parts of the world could tip the scales.

This is likely thanks to high immunity levels from vaccines, boosters and previous infections. 

The travel industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic — with tens of thousands of flights cancelled after travel restrictions went up across the world.

Industry insiders say their business were ‘choked’ by curbs, and blamed restrictions this year for a ‘second lost summer’ of business. 

The travel association Abta said in September that bookings were down by 83 per cent on the same time in 2019. 

It came after Nadhim Zahawi claimed today that Britain will be the first country in the world to beat the pandemic.

Mr Zahawi, the former vaccines minister, said it was ‘absolutely the right thing’ to drop all restrictions in July and allow the virus to spread during the warmer months when the NHS was less busy — despite huge criticism at the time.

He suggested the UK would be the first major economy to transition from pandemic to endemic because it frontloaded its Delta cases and is racing ahead of most of its EU neighbours in administering booster vaccines.

There is currently a fresh wave of the Delta variant rollling across the continent that has sent nations back into draconian restrictions and triggered a wave of violent protests.

The UK was slammed as the ‘sick man of Europe’ throughout the summer and autumn for consistently recording the highest levels of infection on the continent.

But Mr Zahawi told LBC Radio: ‘Our four-step plan meant that we were able to open up the economy in the summer. Some said it was a mistake — I think it was absolutely the right thing to do.’

In a sign that boosters could be rolled out every year, he added: ‘We will probably, I hope, without being complacent, be the first major economy in the world to demonstrate how you transition (from) pandemic to endemic using vaccines.’ 

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