Covid tests to be SCRAPPED for fully vaccinated Brit travellers in boost for half-term holidays

COVID tests for fully-vaccinated Brits returning to the UK are set to be scrapped in a major boost for half-term holidays.

Day two tests have already been downgraded from PCRs to cheaper lateral flows, and they could soon be ditched altogether.

The move would allow families a stress-free getaway come February 18 when most schools break up for a week, with no need to fork out for the at-home kits or visit test centres.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is understood to be poised to make the announcement on January 26 when Plan B restrictions are also due to be axed.

A source close to the Cabinet minister told The Times: "We are looking at removing all Covid tests for vaccinated travellers by the end of January, which is likely to coincide with the review of the Plan B measures on January 26."

Boris Johnson is expected to remove many curbs on our daily lives amid growing confidence the UK can ride out the Omicron wave.

This would likely end the requirement to work from home and see the controversial vaccine passports given the boot.

Mask wearing in public places is the only of the three major Covid measures that could stay in place beyond the end of the month.

The PM is likely to unveil the plans if infections rates continue to fall.

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Daily cases have dropped significantly in the last week, with infections dipping below 100,000 for two days running for the first time in weeks.

And the number of positive tests reported is declining in every region in England as the crucial R rate has stabilised, new data has revealed.

The R rate is currently between 1.1 and 1.5 a slight dip from last weeks 1.2 to 1.5.

It's highest in the North East, which sits between 1.4 and 1.7, but infections are now starting to fall in the region – which had previously been an Omicron epicentre.

Experts put the declining numbers down to the UK's rapid vaccination roll-out.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains in the vaccinated, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

'LOOKING MORE POSITIVE'

Several Covid measures have already been thrown out amid the optimism, including self-isolation for positive cases being slashed to just five days for the fully jabbed.

And it seems the UK is "on the other side" of the Omicron peak with "hospitalisations, deaths and general severity looking more positive", according to epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector.

Travel bosses will breathe a sign of relief once restriction-free travel comes into force.

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said of the previous announcement on January 5: "This is a hugely welcome move at a critical time in the booking season for passengers, and will provide a massive boost to those wanting to travel abroad or come to the UK this year.

"People will now be able to book knowing that – for the fully-vaccinated – all emergency testing restrictions have been removed. 

"Today marks an important step towards learning to live alongside the virus, helping passengers and the travel sector look ahead to what will be an all-important spring and summer season."

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