Holiday hope as pre-departure Covid tests could be scrapped this week

HOLIDAYMAKERS have been given fresh hope for easier travels abroad as pre-departure Covid tests could be scrapped this week.

Brits currently returning to the UK must take a Covid test up to two days before arrival, as well as a second test within two days of being back in the country.

However, the test taken before arrival could no longer be required – after it was reintroduced in December – due to the Omicron variant already being prevalent in the UK.

The travel rules are expected to be discussed this Wednesday, the Telegraph revealed, with many government officials said to be wanting them to be scrapped.

This includes Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Tory MP Sir Graham Brady.

Sir Brady told the newspaper: "We need to see consistency and, if a more relaxed approach is good enough for the domestic economy given what we know about Omicron, it should be good enough for travel too."

Travel bosses have demanded an end to Covid tests for Brits returning from holidays to the UK because Omicron is "already here".

The introduction of the tests earlier this month was described as a "devastating blow" to the travel industry, with aviation officials saying the rapid change in entry requirements has made it "impossible" for airlines and firms to plan ahead. 

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Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency said the rules have become "out of date" and should be removed "urgently".

He added: "The rules are lacking evidence, there is no justification for a pre-departure test to the UK anymore. No-one needs to monitor Omicron coming in – it's already here.

"The PM needs to remove the pre-departure test as a minimum and turn the day 2 into an easier lateral flow test."

Kurt Janson, director of the Tourism Alliance, agreed, warning the testing requirements were damaging the industry.

He said: "They certainly make it difficult for it 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."

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

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

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