Travel restrictions: UK drops all remaining Covid rules

Passenger locator forms have been vehemently opposed by the travel industry

Passengers at Heathrow Airport, London. All travel restrictions related to Covid-19 are to be shelved by the UK government. PA
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All of the United Kingdom's coronavirus travel measures, including passenger locator forms, will end on Friday, it has been announced.

The changes come into effect before the Easter holiday and are being brought about due to the success of the country's vaccine campaign, a UK government minister said.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “All remaining Covid travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4am on March 18.

“These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter.”

The further relaxation of travel rules are being introduced despite a rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases over the past week.

The time-consuming passenger locator forms require people to fill in travel details, their address in the UK and vaccination status.

They have been used to track people after outbreaks of the virus.

They are currently required by all arrivals coming to the UK from outside Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Under current UK travel rules, unvaccinated travellers over the age of 18 arriving in the UK are required to self-isolate until they receive the result of a PCR test taken within the first two days.

In addition, all travellers must fill in a digital passenger locator form at least 48 hours before arrival.

The digital passenger locator form has been recently simplified but is still “much more complex than that used by many other countries”, the UK travel association ABTA says.

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Latest British government figures showed 71,259 new daily Covid-19 cases — up 59 per cent from the 44,740 reported last Friday.

Prevalence of the disease is also up, with 2.6 million people estimated to have been infected with coronavirus last week, up from 2.4 million the week before, Office for National Statistics data showed. About one in 26 of the UK population currently has Covid-19.

Coronavirus infections were rising in all four UK nations for the first time since the end of January.

The numbers for hospital patients with Covid-19 were also rising, up 19 per cent week-on-week in England.

Hospital admissions with coronavirus in England remain well below the peaks of Omicron and previous waves, while in Scotland the figure was close to the record peak seen in January last year.

Updated: March 17, 2022, 12:05 PM