Starting Monday, fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the United Kingdom will no longer have to take a COVID-19 test.
While previously, vaccinated travelers were required to take a lateral flow test within two days of arrival, now all they will have to do is verify their status on a passenger locator form.
The U.K.’s definition of “fully vaccinated” right now includes all those who are two weeks removed from the final dose of their WHO-approved two-dose vaccine, or two weeks from the only dose of their WHO-approved single-dose vaccine. No booster shot will be required yet. That group also includes all those under 18-years-old.
For those who are not vaccinated, that testing requirement will still be in place—unvaccinated travelers will be required to test prior to travel and then post-arrival in the U.K.
That means that North American travelers, who are fully vaccinated, will be able to fly into the U.K. on Monday, stay at some of the most anticipated new hotels including the Fairmont Windsor Park, without getting a test until their return trip home
The move comes the same week that IATA called for the removal of all restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers.
“With the experience of the Omicron variant, there is mounting scientific evidence and opinion opposing the targeting of travelers with restrictions and country bans to control the spread of COVID-19. The measures have not worked,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said on Tuesday.
“Today Omicron is present in all parts of the world. That’s why travel, with very few exceptions, does not increase the risk to general populations. The billions spent testing travelers would be far more effective if allocated to vaccine distribution or strengthening health care systems,” he added.
In its statement, IATA cited a U.K.-study from Oxera and Edge Health that was commissioned by the Manchester Airport in the U.K. and published earlier this month. That study reported that domestic restrictions were ineffective at preventing the spread of Omicron in the U.K. and that even if Omicron-ERA protocols were in place in November, “they would not have had a significant impact on the spread.”