By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) - Double vaccinated travelers arriving in England will no longer be required to take PCR and lateral flow tests, the government confirmed on Monday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement during a visit to a hospital in the town of Milton Keynes after calls from airline companies to end omicron-related travel restrictions.
"We have, thanks to the tough decisions, the big calls that we made the most open economy and society in Europe. And although we have to be cautious, we are now moving through the omicron wave, and you can see the figures are starting to get better,” Johnson said.
"So what we're doing on travel, to show that this country is open for business, open for travelers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated,” the prime minister added.
In addition to the scrapping of travel tests, COVID passports and the wearing of face masks will also no longer be made mandatory and people will be allowed to return to work in their respective offices.
EasyJet, one of the UK’s largest airline and tour operating companies, welcomed the announcement by the government.
"We welcome this news knowing that millions of our customers will also be delighted to see the return of restriction-free travel in the UK. We now look ahead to what we believe will be a strong summer,” said Johan Lundgren, the chief executive of the company.
"We believe testing for travel should now firmly become a thing of the past. It is clear travel restrictions did not materially slow the spread of omicron in the UK and so it is important that there are no more knee-jerk reactions to future variants,” Lundgren added.
The new rule is thought to be implemented during the one-week holiday in February.
Currently, unvaccinated arrivals are required to take a pre-departure test as well as two post-arrival PCR tests. They must also self-isolate for 10 days.
Last week, the government put an end to its "Plan B" restrictions that saw the re-imposition of face mask mandates and work-from-home rules, citing the decline in omicron cases.