Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ announcement on Friday of new travel rules from 4 October left many agents and consumers confused about the implication for families.
While Mr Shapps announced an easing of restrictions for vaccinated travellers, he also announced tougher restrictions for those who haven’t received both doses of the COVID vaccine.
With no confirmation from his department on specific rules for children, it led to misreporting in the consumer press and on social media over the weekend that unvaccinated under 18s would be required to self-isolate when returning to England from 4 October.
Media reports also claimed children over 11 would still have to take pre-departure tests before boarding flights home, and both day 2 and day 8 tests on return, which could severely damage half-term bookings.
However, the Department for Transport confirmed to Travel Gossip this morning that unvaccinated children will follow the same rules as vaccinated adults from 4 October.
They will be exempt from pre-departure testing and they will only need to take a day 2 test on return from countries not on the red list. From later in October, on a date yet to be confirmed, the day 2 test will be switched from a PCR to a cheaper lateral flow.
Children under 18 will not have to self-isolate on return from any non-red list country, unlike unvaccinated adults who will have to self-isolate for 10 days from country not on the red list, with the option to test-to-release on day five.