Holiday boost as pre-departure tests scrapped and day 2 PCRs swapped for lateral flows – saving families hundreds

BRITS have been given a holiday boost as the government confirmed that pre-departure tests will be scrapped – and day two tests can be swapped for cheaper lateral flow tests.

Holidaymakers will no longer need to take Covid tests before they return to the UK, which risked travellers being stranded abroad if they tested positive.

Day two test rules will also change, with Brits no longer forced to pay for expensive PCR tests, and can instead have a cheaper lateral flow.

This means families could save hundreds of pounds on their holidays, with the £22 pre-departure scrapped saving £88 for a family of four.

And lateral flow tests cost around £60 less than PCR tests – saving £240 per family.

Brits who are fully vaccinated also won't have to isolate on their return – currently they have to wait for the results of their day two test.

The new rules will be in place from 4am on Friday.

Boris Johnson confirmed: "When the Omicron variant was first identified, we rightly introduced travel restrictions to slow its arrival in our country. But now that Omicron is so prevalent, it has a limited impact on the growth in cases while continuing to pose significant costs to our travel.

"So I can announce in England from 4am on Friday, we will be scrapping the pre-departure test which discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas incurring significant extra expense."

Brits will still need to take a PCR test if their day two lateral flow comes back positive, which is available for free on the NHS.

The Covid test rules were reintroduced late last year due to fears over the Omicron variant, but have been scrapped due to the new strain now being prevalent across the UK.

Travel bosses will be happy with the move towards restriction-free travel, with many previously calling for them to be scrapped to help the industry.

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Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, praised the move: "This is a hugely welcome move at a critical time in the booking season for passengers, and will provide a massive boost to those wanting to travel abroad or come to the UK this year.

"People will now be able to book knowing that – for the fully-vaccinated – all emergency testing restrictions have been removed. 

“Today marks an important step towards learning to live alongside the virus, helping passengers and the travel sector look ahead to what will be an all-important spring and summer season.”

Kurt Janson, director of the Tourism Alliance, warned that the strict testing requirements were damaging the industry.

He said: "They certainly make it difficult for the international travel sector, whether it be inbound or outbound, to function in a reasonable manner.

"Resolving the restrictions on international travel needs to be done. The government has got a tourism recovery plan and the target is to get figures back to 2019 levels by 2023."

Yesterday, Boris Johnson also warned that holidaymakers will soon need all three jabs to jet abroad without having to quarantine.

He said: "It's already the case that to travel to some countries you need a booster to be considered fully vaccinated.

"And it's likely that within weeks this will increasingly become the norm."

Foreign holiday prices have plummeted in recent weeks due to the confusing travel rules, with two-week breaks as little as £345.

And Brits will still need to check the travel rules before going abroad, with destinations such as Spain and Cyprus requiring negative Covid tests.

We've rounded up the latest travel advice and restrictions for some of the top holiday destinations for Brits.

Germany lifted the travel ban on UK tourists just weeks after introducing it, while France is set to loosen some of their restrictions on British tourists.

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