England to end COVID restrictions, but what about unvaccinated travellers and PLFs?

By Linsey McNeill
21/02/2022
Home » England to end COVID restrictions, but what about unvaccinated travellers and PLFs?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce an end to remaining COVID restrictions in England later today.

It will include a push to get workers back into offices and, most importantly, an end to the legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus.

He is also expected to confirm an end to free testing by the spring.

Northern Ireland has already ended domestic COVID restrictions and Scotland and Wales are expected to follow next month.

However, it is understood that there will be no relaxation of rules for unvaccinated holidaymakers who must take a pre-departure test before travelling to the UK and another two days later.

Also, all travellers continue to have to fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before departing for the UK.

While Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that this was to be simplified ahead of the February half-term, the form remains lengthy and complex.

Mr Shapps is pushing for the form to be ditched altogether before the Easter break, according to a report by the Daily Mail, but the move is being resisted by the Department of Health.

Airlines UK chief Tim Alderslade told the Mail: “If there is no requirement to self-isolate for those with COVID in the UK, jabbed or otherwise, there can be no justification for continuing with travel restrictions for the unvaccinated, including the continued use of the PLF which, although not as bad as testing, remains a deterrent to travel.”

An ABTA spokesperson told the paper: “ABTA believes that all COVID restrictions introduced on international travel, including the passenger locator form, should be kept under review and removed as soon as this can be delivered in line with the Government’s public health objectives.  

‘If the Government isn’t willing to remove the PLF at this time, a clear rationale must be provided as to why it is being retained and the policy objective it is serving, and there should be further changes to make the system easier to use for all travellers.”

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