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EU Expected To Drop Pre-Departure Tests For All Countries From 1 March

Fully vaccinated British travellers could soon be able to enter EU countries without any need for pre-departure Covid testing.

The same policy shift would also see children aged six to 18 who have not yet had their second dose of the vaccine allowed into the EU, provided they can show a negative PCR test result.

The change in rules for travellers from countries outside the EU are set to be passed by the European Council today, reports The Telegraph, and are expected to take effect on 1 March.

The hope is that the move will simplify travel across the bloc, replacing the current patchwork of rules that differ from country to country and ensuring measures are based on a visitor’s health status rather than the epidemiological situation of their departure country.

However, as with all EU Council recommendations, it is guidance only – individual EU countries can decide for themselves whether they want to adhere to it.

The European Commission is reportedly “optimistic” that most EU and EEA countries will comply with the recommendations.

If so, European travel looks set to become smoother and cheaper ahead of the Easter holidays.

It would mean that double and triple-jabbed Brits could head out and back without having to shell out for a single test, either on the outbound or return leg of their trip.

The UK government shelved testing requirements for all fully vaccinated arrivals on 11 February, meaning these travellers no longer need to take a pre-departure or post-arrival test.

However, individual EU countries have their own separate rules in place when it comes to domestic venues.

A number of nations insist on Covid passes to access indoor spaces such as restaurants and museums; of these, some have implemented strict expiration dates on vaccination, requiring that people have received a booster jabbed in order to be recognised as fully vaccinated.

It comes as the UK’s transport secretary is said to be pushing to scrap the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) that all arrivals are currently required to fill in before commencing their journey to Britain.

Grant Shapps is reportedly aiming for the lengthy and complicated health tracking form to be scrapped by the beginning of April to make Easter travels easier and more appealing.

Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, said: “Ministers are absolutely right to remove the remaining restrictions but this needs to cut across all elements of the economy, including travel.

“If there is no requirement to self-isolate for those with Covid in the UK, jabbed or otherwise, there can be no justification for continuing with travel restrictions for the unvaccinated, including the continued use of the PLF which, although not as bad as testing, remains a deterrent to travel.”

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