The Easter holiday in April is a popular holiday season in the UK and the changes are timed to help families make travel plans.

All remaining international travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including filling out passenger locator forms before arrival and mandatory pre-departure testing for unvaccinated travelers, have been lifted from Friday, the UK government has announced.

The change, previously announced by the Department for Transport (DfT), went into effect at 4am GMT (9:30am IST). The government has said it will hold a series of “emergency measures” in reserve, which would allow for “rapid and proportionate” action to delay future harmful strains of COVID-19 entering the country.

“Everything we’ve worked for, every jab, every test and the sacrifices the whole country has made means that we can finally, almost two years later, all travel without bureaucratic restrictions,” said British Aviation Secretary Robert Courts.

According to officials, the standard approach going forward will be to use the “least stringent measures”, if applicable, to minimize the impact on travel as much as possible, implementing emergency measures only in extreme circumstances.

All remaining mandatory hotel quarantine capacity will also be fully released from the end of March.

Until now, only vaccinated travelers were exempt from PCR testing, while unvaccinated travelers had to take a pre-departure test and another test two days after arriving in the UK.

“I said we would not maintain travel restrictions for longer than necessary, which we are doing today – with more welcome news and more freedom for travelers in the run-up to the Easter holidays. I look forward to continuing to work with the travel industry and partners around the world to keep international travel moving,” said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, making the announcement earlier this week.

The Easter holiday in April is a popular holiday season in the UK and the changes are timed to help families make travel plans without the need for additional requirements.

It comes as COVID infections are on the rise in the UK, but the government says the success of its vaccine roll-out program has allowed all restrictions to be lifted.

“We continue to monitor and monitor potential new variants and maintain a reserve of measures that can be deployed quickly if necessary to keep us safe. We can lift these latter restrictions thanks to the incredible success of our vaccination programme, which has boosted more than eight in ten adults in the UK,” said British Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

The UK travel industry has widely welcomed the changes as much-needed support for the struggling industry.

“Now is the time to return to the air – to enjoy everything that makes aviation and international travel great, for families and businesses –,” said Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK.

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