The UK government has lifted all travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes both entry and exit restrictions, as well as any bans on traveling to specific areas.
This decision was made in order to support the country’s economy, which has been struggling in recent months. The government believes that the removal of these restrictions will encourage people to travel and spend money in the UK.
From 4am Friday 18 March, all COVID-19 travel restrictions will be lifted, including the passenger locator form (PLF) for arrivals into the UK, as well as all tests for passengers who do not qualify as vaccinated. This change, therefore, removes the need for unvaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test and a day 2 post arrival test.
This step reflects the decisions taken by the government, as set out in the Living with COVID plan, and the success of the UK’s vaccine and booster rollout, with 86% of the population having received a second dose and 67% of the population with a booster or third dose.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions, and today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work everyone in this country has put in place to roll out the vaccine and protect each other. I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travelers ahead of the Easter holidays. I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As we learn to live with COVID-19, we’re taking further steps to open up international travel once again ahead of the Easter holidays. We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants and keep a reserve of measures that can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe. We can remove these final restrictions thanks to the incredible success of our vaccination programme, which has seen more than 8 out of 10 adults across the UK boosted”.
To ensure the protection of public health, the government will maintain a range of contingency measures in reserve, which would enable it to take swift and proportionate action to delay any future harmful variants of COVID-19 entering the UK should the need arise.
In future, the government’s default approach will be to use the least stringent measures, if appropriate, to minimize the impact on travel as far as possible – given the high personal, economic and international costs border measures can have – and the contingency measures will only be implemented in extreme circumstances.
Given the current state of the pandemic and a move towards global travel volumes returning to normal, the remaining managed hotel quarantine capacity will be fully stood down from the end of March.
However, travelers are still advised to take precautions against the virus, including washing their hands regularly and avoiding close contact with others. If you feel unwell, please seek medical assistance.