Breaking: UK To Drop Pre-Departure Testing From October

The United Kingdom has revealed a planned change to its international travel rules. Travel will become much easier for fully vaccinated individuals. However, for the unvaccinated, travel will get harder as the country is set to drop the green list and move to a two-tier Amber/Red system.

United Kingdom, Fully Vaccinated, PCR Tests
The UK is set to simply entry procedures for fully vaccinated individuals. Photo: Getty Images

From October 4th, fully vaccinated individuals will be able to travel to the UK without taking a pre-departure rapid test. Additionally, from late October the expensive day two PCR testing will be replaced by far cheaper lateral flow tests. These are currently available for free in the UK.

Travel set to become cheaper and easier

Travel is set to become far easier and cheaper for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The requirement to take a rapid test before flying to the UK will be dropped for such individuals from October 4th, as announced by the UK Transport Secretary on Twitter today,

You can see from the Tweet that Shapps is also looking to scrap the requirement to take an expensive day two PCR test if fully vaccinated. Currently, most such tests will set an individual back by at least £43. Shapps says that they will be replaced by a “cheaper lateral flow” test.

While such tests are available for free in the UK, this suggests that passengers may not be able to use those offered by the NHS, as is the case with PCR testing. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when the day 2 change will come into force beyond “later in October”.

The news is being well received by airlines with British Airways CEO Sean Doyle commenting,

“We welcome the simplification of the traffic light system, and the changes to the testing requirements allowing UK travellers to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme and finally giving customers and business the confidence to book the journeys they’ve been waiting for.”

Travel becoming harder for the unvaccinated

The change in the rules means that travel will actually become harder for those who wish to remain unvaccinated. With the traffic light system, an amber country was equivalent to a green country for those fully vaccinated.

Breaking: UK To Drop Pre-Departure Testing From October
81.5% of the UK adult population has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (not pictured). Photo: Getty Images

Shapps revealed that scrapping the traffic light list will move the travel rules from being country-focused to being individual-focused. This means that all countries that are currently green will effectively move to amber status on October 4th. In turn, this means that all passengers not traveling from a red list country will need to pay for PCR tests and quarantine for at least five days upon return if not vaccinated.

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Changes to the red list too

While the red list will become the only list that matters, it is also becoming smaller. According to Shapps, eight countries and territories will be removed from the red list. This includes Turkey, Pakistan, and the Maldives, but isn’t as large a change as had been expected by many.

Are you pleased to see the changes announced by the UK government? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!