PM lifts domestic restrictions but travel testing and PLF remain

By Linsey McNeill
22/02/2022
Home » PM lifts domestic restrictions but travel testing and PLF remain

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave no indication of when remaining travel restrictions will be lifted when he announced an ending of domestic COVID measures on Monday afternoon.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the PM said the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test will end on Thursday.

At the same time, support payments for those self-isolating will end, although Statutory Sick Pay for those with COVID will continue for another month.

NHS contact tracing will also end, but those who have been close to someone with the virus will be advised to self-test for seven days.

The COVID Passport will also no longer be required in domestic settings, but Mr Johnson said it will be retained in the NHS app for international travel.

Free test kits will no longer be available from 1 April as the PM said ‘testing is much less important and less valuable for Omicron’.

However, he didn’t say if the Government plans to end testing for unvaccinated arrivals, who have to take a pre-departure test and a second on or before their second day in the UK.

Also, he didn’t say how long the Passenger Locator Form will be retained for international travel.

Answering a question from Labour MP Ben Bradshaw about why he was keeping ‘the bureaucratic and irritating PLF when the whole of the rest of Europe can already travel freely by showing a vaccine certificate’ the PM replied: “We already have one of the most open travel systems in the world and, the Passenger Locator Form, I understand his grievance against it and we are certainly reviewing it.”

In advance of today’s announcement, during which she was expecting the PM to announce a date for the ending of travel restrictions, Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “Any relaxation in restrictions that are currently prohibitive to travel are of course very welcome but let nobody be fooled into thinking the travel industry is suddenly fixed.

 “The travel industry is seriously damaged, in debt and in many cases in trouble, struggling to survive.  The travel industry was probably the only sector during the pandemic that had to keep its staff working managing rebookings and cancellations, despite no income and is now the only sector that still cannot trade fully.

 “After two of the hardest years on record for the outbound travel industry it is a long way from being back to normal. Even with the UK dropping restrictions we cannot control what’s happening at the destination.

“There is still a labyrinth of restrictions and complexity to navigate through, in order to arrange travel, and a minefield of confusing regulations, depending on destination, regarding test requirements, quarantine and evidence of vaccination.”

 Advantage members were still reporting bookings down 36% on 2019 for February half-term, according to Ms Bue-Said, despite an easing of travel restrictions.

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