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UK ends Covid test requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers

The British government has from Friday brought an end to testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, including the post-arrival Day 2 tests that travellers from Europe have previously been forced to pay for.

UK ends Covid test requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers
Photo: Sam van de Wal/AFP

Announcing the changes, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This country is open for business, people arriving no longer have to take tests if they’ve been double vaccinated.”

The new rule came into effect at 4am on Friday, February 11th.

The UK had already scrapped the requirement for pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated arrivals, so this change means that no tests at all are required for fully vaccinated arrivals. 

The Passenger Locator Form is still required, and must be completed before boarding transport to the UK, but passengers can upload proof of their vaccination status instead of a Day 2 test booking reference.

The UK does not require a booster shot in order to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated still require a pre-departure test and a Day 2 test, but will no longer have to quarantine on arrival or take a second PCR test after arriving.

Under 18s do not require any tests. 

Member comments

  1. The EU has completely ignored how well England and devolved nations have fared whilst removing restrictions. While in Germany could not imagine granting freedoms back to the people. And despite numbers the overloards are adamant its either worse or about to get worse.

  2. Looks like this text part is from previous regulation version, so should be amended.

    “However it is still mandatory to pay a private company for a Day 2 test, which is taken on or before the second day or your stay in the UK. Under current rules the Day 2 test can be an antigen test rather than the more expensive PCR tests, and arrivals do not have to quarantine while awaiting the results.”

    1. The new rules don’t come into force until Feb 11 so the article is stating what is currently in force.

    2. This will be scrapped from feb 11th or 12th for all vaccinated people.
      Unvaccinated are still required to book day 2 and day 8 tests. And isolation for 10 days. To be shortened to 5 with the purchase of an extra test.and entry into a government scheme.

      1. The UK also added that it will be scaling down travel restrictions for unvaccinated arrivals. From February 11, 2022, those who are not fully vaccinated, will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before the second day after they arrive in the United Kingdom, and fill out the PLF. Only those testing positive will have to self isolate.

  3. But then here in Germany I think you have to consider the death rate compared to the UK.
    Find more statistics at Statista
    We have nothing to shout about.

  4. In fact in the UK the number of covid deaths is nearly double that of Germany per million inhabitants. I feel much safer over here.

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TRAIN TRAVEL

EXPLAINED: How to not be ‘bumped’ from an overcrowded Austrian train

Austrian trains have been overly crowded recently, with some people who had valid tickets having to be removed for "safety reasons". Here's how to make sure you get to your destination.

EXPLAINED: How to not be 'bumped' from an overcrowded Austrian train

Train travel is a safe and relatively comfortable way to get around Austria, but there is still much to do to make these journeys better for travellers, especially for commuters.

In Austria, a combination of high fuel prices, the adoption of the subsidised Klimaticket, and Vienna’s new short-term parking system, combined with other factors including a green surge and nice weather, has led to an increase in the search for train travel.

The operator ÖBB expects an even higher surge in the next few days, as warm weather meets holidays in Austria. This has led to several journeys being overcrowded, with people travelling standing up or being removed from trains when they reach capacity and the number of people compromises safety.

READ ALSO: Half-price Europe train tickets on offer in Interrail flash sale

“Safety is the top priority. If the train is too full to be guided safely, passengers must be asked to get off. If they don’t do it voluntarily, we have no choice but to get the police. This happens very rarely,” Bernhard Rieder from ÖBB told broadcaster ORF during an Ö1 interview.

Why are trains overcrowded?

There are several reasons for the surge in train travel, but they boil down to two things: rising costs for other means of transportation and environmental worries.

With galloping inflation, Austrians have seen prices of fuel climbing, and as the war in Ukraine continues, there is no likelihood of lower petrol prices any time soon.

At the same time, since March, Vienna (the destination for many domestic tourists and commuters) has instituted a new short-term parking system, basically removing free parking in the streets of the capital.

Driving has become more expensive when everything else seems to be costly, and many Austrians turn to train travel. Particularly for those who are holders of the Klimaticket, a yearly subsidised card that allows for unlimited travel for just over €1,000 – early buyers could get a hold of the ticket for under €900.

READ ALSO: Nine German expressions that perfectly sum up spring in Austria

The ticket allows travellers to “hop on and hop off” as they wish, making occupancy more unpredictable. However, it is possible to reserve seats even if you have them, and there are low-budget bundles for commuters.

The Klimaticket was created in an effort with the Environmental Ministry, looking to increase the use of greener transport alternatives in Austria.

The environmental concern is also one of the reasons why train travel is on the rise globally – travelling by train is also more convenient in many cases, with comfortable seats, free wifi, a dining area and the fact that you can start and end your journey in central stations instead of far-away airports.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Trains are in fashion so why is rail travel across Europe still so difficult?

Why won’t ÖBB only sell as many tickets as there are train seats?

A reasonable question, but that is not possible with the way train journeys operate in Austria – and in most countries.

Some tickets are “open” and flexible, meaning that people can board any train from a specific time. These are particularly useful for commuters who might be late leaving work, for example.

Additionally, holders of the Klimaticket and other regional yearly offers don’t need to buy tickets. They only need to show their Klimaticket card with an ID once checked.

READ ALSO: Austria’s nationwide public transport ‘climate ticket’ now available

What is ÖBB doing to avoid overcrowding?

After the several incidents of overcrowding when people even had to leave their trains despite having valid tickets, ÖBB announced it would bring additional trains for the peak season around the holidays (May 26th, June 5th and 6th and June 16th), increasing the number of seats by “thousands”, according to a press statement.

What can I do to guarantee my journey?

Despite the increase in offer, the operator still warns that “on certain trains, demand can still exceed capacity”.

The best way to try and guarantee your journey, according to ÖBB, is by reserving a seat.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

“A seat reservation is the best way to use the most popular train connections. Starting at €3, you can reserve a seat in ÖBB trains in Austria”.

Reservations are available online at tickets.oebb.at the ÖBB app, at the ÖBB ticket counter, and at the ÖBB customer service at 05-1717.

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