London: The UK government is reportedly planning to do away with the requirement of mandatory COVID-19 tests post-arrival into the country for fully vaccinated travellers, including from India, as part of preparations of having to live with coronavirus in the future.

According to The Sunday Times’, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is understood to be in favour of ending the testing regime for all those who have had both vaccine doses, in time for school holidays in the UK in February.

The move, which will save families hundreds of pounds and boost the pandemic-hit travel industry, will follow the scrapping of pre-arrival COVID tests from early in the New Year.

Under current rules, travellers arriving in England are required to stay at their declared address on a legally binding Passenger Locator Form until they log a negative lateral flow or PCR test result on a pre-booked system.

A positive test requires a 10-day quarantine at the address, although this can be cut short with a negative lateral flow test on days six and seven. Those not fully vaccinated must isolate for the full 10 days on arrival, with tests required on days two and eight.

‘The Sunday Times’ quoted a source close to the transport minister to say that he is in favour of relaxing these rules by the end of this month.

We are looking at removing all COVID tests for vaccinated travellers by the end of January, which is likely to coincide with the review of the Plan B measures on January 26, the source told the newspaper.

January 26 is the date earmarked for a review of the current rules, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expected to lift the ongoing Plan B restrictions he announced in December 2021 to combat the Omicron variant. These include working from home where possible and wearing masks in shops and on public transport.

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