The government has confirmed all UK arrivals must once again show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow test before they will be permitted entry. The test must be taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure and applies to vaccinated passengers and children aged 12 and above.
Officials said the changes come in light of concerns over the spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19. The new rules will come into effect from 7 December. Airlines will be required to check for pre-departure tests alongside a completed passenger locator form, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result.
Given the reduced incubation period of the Omicron variant, passengers are advised to take the pre-departure test as close as possible to their scheduled departure to the UK and no earlier than 48 hours before travelling, a statement said. Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed the temporary measures will be reviewed after three weeks to ensure that they remain necessary and proportionate.
Secretary of state for health and social care, Sajid Javid, said: “We knew this winter would be challenging but the arrival of a new variant means we must further strengthen our defences. “I urge everyone to do their bit to slow the spread by following the new travel rules, wearing masks where mandatory and most importantly getting the booster jab when called.”