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TRAVEL NEWS

UK government to relax Covid testing rules for arrivals from Europe

People travelling to England will face a less strict Covid testing regime from Friday, the British government has announced.

UK government to relax Covid testing rules for arrivals from Europe
Photo: John Thys/AFP

British transport minister Grant Shapps announced that the new rules, which for the time being only concern arrivals into England, will come into force at 4am on Friday, January 7th.

Fully-vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to take a pre-departure test if travelling to England.

The complicated and expensive ‘Day 2’ testing system remains in place, requiring a pre-booked test to be done within two days of arrival in the UK. 

READ ALSO How to book that Day 2 test for the UK

However this too is set to be relaxed, with fully vaccinated arrivals no longer needing to isolate until their test results arrive.

Travellers can also book the less expensive antigen (lateral flow) test, rather than a PCR test if they arrive after 4am on Sunday, January 9th.

France maintains its near-total ban on travel to or from the UK – although a French government spokesman said on Wednesday that this could be lifted soon – while several other countries have stringent measures in place for arrivals from the UK. 

The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to release details on whether they will follow suit. 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Switzerland proposes travellers pay for Covid boosters

Under a new plan put forth by the Swiss government, anyone who needs a booster shot for travel abroad should pay for it out of pocket.

Switzerland proposes travellers pay for Covid boosters

While Covid shots were previously free for everyone in Switzerland, with the Swiss government picking up the tab, the country has been reluctant to issue a recommendation for a second booster.

As The Local reported on Monday, this means that many people’s most recent shot will soon be more than nine months ago, which is the date at which many Covid passes expire. 

READ MORE: What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

Although evidence of vaccination is not required domestically in Switzerland any more, it may pose issues in travel. 

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland, this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

Swiss health authorities: Travellers should pay for Covid boosters themselves

According to newest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), people travelling abroad who need second booster doses must pay for the shots themselves.

As the fourth vaccine dose is currently recommended only for people with a severely weakened immune system, everyone outside of this group will be charged as yet undefined fee.

The proposal was sent to the cantons for consultation until June 1st.

If agreed on, the Federal Council will adjust the Epidemics Ordinance accordingly on June 10th.

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