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All Covid travel restrictions ‘to be scrapped next week’

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ll remaining Covid travel restrictions could be lifted in days in a boost for the Easter holidays, it was reported on Wednesday.

Passenger locator forms are said to be likely to be scrapped under plans being considered by ministers.

They are expected to be ditched following a scheduled committee meeting of “Covid-O” (Covid Operations) cabinet ministers next week, according to the Daily Mail.

Ministers will also decide whether to scrap testing for unvaccinated passengers, the newspaper reported. Under current rules only vaccinated arrivals can enter the UK without having to take a test.

Passenger locator forms must be completed within 72 hours of travel by anyone arriving in the UK, though other countries in Europe including Greece and Belgium have already ditched the requirement.

Those filling out the form must provide their address, mobile number, passport details and flight information.

The requirement for unvaccinated arrivals to self-isolate was dropped last month, but they still need to take a rapid pre-departure within 48 hours of travel and a PCR test on Day Two.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the changes were “long overdue” as the beleaguered travel industry recovers from the pandemic.

He told the Mail: “It’s a shambles. They should ditch it, it’s completely irrelevant. Nobody collects them, nobody checks them or follows up on them.

“They were designed to pretend that the politicians were doing something to protect people.”

Travel industry association ABTA said: “Given the relaxation of domestic Covid measures, we believe all Covid-related restrictions on international travel should be [axed] unless they serve a clear public health objective.

“While recent simplifications of the [form] have helped, the system for collecting passenger data is much more complex than that used by many other countries. It’s time to get people travelling again.”

Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the House of Commons’ Transport Select Committee, told the Business Travel Association’s spring conference last week that the Department for Transport (DfT) “cannot see the point” of the form.

“We don’t need restrictions domestically so why the heck do we need to be asking all these questions of people when they come back into the country?” he said.

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