All Restrictions Scrapped From 18 March

After two years of living through travel restrictions under the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries are starting to ease travel rules completely–and from 4am Friday 18 March, England becomes the latest country to remove all constraints against fully vaccinated travelers.

As reported by The Telegraph, Transport Minister Grant Schapps announced that from this point forward, it will no longer be necessary for travelers to test before or after entry into England.

At present, everyone must fill in a passenger locator form, but from 18 March, this will no longer be necessary either.

Heathrow airport also announced this week that it is no longer necessary to wear masks while traveling through the airport, although it is still recommended. British Airways and Virgin are also planning to remove the requirement to wear a mask onboard, when traveling to destinations that don’t require a mask.

Currently, anyone who is not vaccinated must still have proof of a negative test result to enter the country (taken no more than 48 hours beforehand) and they must still have a PCR test booked to take on day 2 of arrival. These PCR tests have been expensive and have radically increased the cost of trips into England during the pandemic.

Shapps said that “these changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout, and mean greater freedom in time for Easter.”

The Guardian reported that these changes come at a time of rising Covid-19 infection rates across the U.K. In the past week, there has been a 48.1% increase in recorded cases and hospital admissions are up 19% on the week before.

A spokesperson for Boris Johnson’s government said that the government was continuing to monitor the situation but “we don’t see anything nearing any of the sorts of pressures we saw at the peak of the pandemic” and that they were continuing to monitor for new variants and developments should new restrictions be needed.

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