Travel column with Katie Butler: All remaining UK Covid travel restrictions to be scrapped from Friday
Katie Butler writes: Fabulous news from the Government this week. All remaining Covid travel restrictions, including the passenger locater forms and testing for non-vaccinated arrivals, will be stood down for UK arrivals from Friday, March 18 at 4am. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to Twitter on Monday afternoon confirming and said the move would allow greater freedom ahead of the Easter holidays.
This means that if you are planning an overseas holiday you will need to follow the rules for your destination country with regard to their test/vaccination requirements but you will not need to test or prove your vaccine status to come back to the UK.
Other restrictions are continuing to ease for overseas travel and following on from the news last week that Jet2.com would be removing the requirement to wear a mask on their flights, TUI followed suit and also announced that they would be removing the mandatory requirement to wear a mask on-board most of their flights from March 11 – two years to the day since Covid was confirmed as a pandemic. TUI Airways is no longer requiring passengers to wear face masks on flights to and from England and Northern Ireland. The airline pointed out that it would be still mandatory to wear a mask on its US flights.
Virgin Atlantic and BA have also announced that they will allow passengers to fly mask-less to destinations that allow.
Many updates this week are filtering through from the Foreign Office and Development Office (FCDO) on easing of restrictions in destinations. Hungary have dropped all Covid-19 restrictions regardless of vaccination status - great news for our many customers due to travel to Budapest on a city break. The country of Montenegro has done the same. Mauritius has also relaxed its Covid-19 entry rules, meaning that fully-vaccinated tourists no longer need a negative test before departure. India will lift its ban on scheduled international passenger services on March 27, two years after most foreign flights were suspended amid the outbreak of the pandemic.
I am un-vaccinated, can I travel to Spain yet?
Unfortunately, Spain is still not allowing un-vaccinated adults to travel for leisure purposes. This includes the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. If you are not vaccinated but have had Covid-19 and are able to prove this by presenting a positive Covid-19 PCR test dated between 11 and 180 days old, then you can travel to Spain if you are not vaccinated as long as you can prove the dates you were infected. The test must have been performed by a health-care professional.
Do I need a booster to be classed as fully-vaccinated?
As it stands, to be classed as fully-vaccinated in the UK you do not need to have had your booster. However, many countries including most popular European holiday destinations may require a booster for you to be classed as fully-vaccinated, if your second vaccine was more than 270 days ago from travelling. Countries such as Spain and Greece have implemented this ruling so be careful not to get caught out.
The removal of the passenger locater form is a welcome move and needless to say we are expecting a busy week!