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COVID-19: UK lifts testing regime for vaccinated Australians

COVID-19: UK lifts testing regime for vaccinated Australians

From 4 am London time on Friday 11 February, Australians who are double vaccinated will no longer need to be tested pre and post their airline journey to the United Kingdom.

“As part of our efforts to ensure that 2022 is the year in which restrictions on travel, on lockdowns and limits on people’s lives are firmly placed in the past, today we are setting Britain free. With these changes today we have one of the most open travel sectors in the world … today is a momentous moment.”

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to The House of Commons

Momentous it might be, but like Darth Vader, in the DeathStar canteen as conceived by Eddie Izzard, you will still need to ‘get a tray’ – or in this case complete a passenger locator form – admittedly simplified to differentiate the fully vaccinated from the dirty filthy unvaccinated.

For the unvaccinated – testing

If you are unvaccinated then you will need to be tested pre-departure and will be required to take a PCR test on the 2nd day after arrival, but you won’t need to self-isolate. Currently, if you come from a ‘red listed’ country (currently none on the list), then you will be subject to hotel quarantine, although this may change to enforced home quarantine if new variants emerge.

COVID-UK v COVID AUS

Australia’s vaccination rate for 12+ years is 91.98% whereas the UK’s is 83.8%. However, the UK’s boosted rate is 64.2%, while it’s in the mid 30’s here in Australia.

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per million is 3.94 for the UK and 2.53 for Australia in mid-January.

Heathrow Terminal 2B

2PAXfly Takeout

A double-edged sword perhaps? On the one hand, this will expedite entry and your stay in the UK. On the other hand, it means that the travel pathway could be a potent source of new infection for Britain.

I am presuming that the UK government has received scientific advice on this, but given their track record, they may not have taken it in making the decision.

As much as I yearn for life to be as close to pre-COVID-19 as possible, especially with travel, I’m not sure this is a sensible move. On the other hand, the UK is so rife with the virus, maybe a few cases coming to their borders is a drop in the ocean.

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