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UK government to relax Covid testing rules for arrivals from Europe

People travelling to England will face a less strict Covid testing regime from Friday, the British government has announced.

UK government to relax Covid testing rules for arrivals from Europe
Photo: John Thys/AFP

British transport minister Grant Shapps announced that the new rules, which for the time being only concern arrivals into England, will come into force at 4am on Friday, January 7th.

Fully-vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to take a pre-departure test if travelling to England.

The complicated and expensive ‘Day 2’ testing system remains in place, requiring a pre-booked test to be done within two days of arrival in the UK. 

READ ALSO How to book that Day 2 test for the UK

However this too is set to be relaxed, with fully vaccinated arrivals no longer needing to isolate until their test results arrive.

Travellers can also book the less expensive antigen (lateral flow) test, rather than a PCR test if they arrive after 4am on Sunday, January 9th.

France maintains its near-total ban on travel to or from the UK – although a French government spokesman said on Wednesday that this could be lifted soon – while several other countries have stringent measures in place for arrivals from the UK. 

The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to release details on whether they will follow suit. 

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SAS

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”. 

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