Northern Ireland joins England in scrapping travel tests ahead of departure from October


The Northern Ireland executive announced that the country would remove the requirement for a pre-departure Covid test or “test to fly” from October 4.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the executive said: “On international travel, we have decided to remove the requirement for pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated arrivals from countries not on the red list. This will go into effect at 4 a.m. on October 4.

The Scottish government also announced this afternoon that the country will follow the plans of the British government on the abolition of the “flight test”.

“The new proposals make it clear that pre-departure testing will no longer be a requirement. We also intend to align with the UK post-arrival testing regime. The detail of this is still being worked out with lateral flow testing under consideration and we will be engaging further with the UK government on these plans. Details will be announced at the same time as the UK, ”a statement read.

It is now only Wales left to embark on the change, which was announced for England on September 17 – their decentralized governments have the right to pass or reject the measures.

Following the UK government’s announcement of the rule change, Welsh Minister of Health Eluned Morgan said: “We will carefully consider the UK government’s proposed changes to health measures at the border, which include the elimination of pre-departure testing and introduction of lateral flow testing instead of PCR testing on the second day of people returning to the UK.

Morgan suggested Wales may have to follow suit, given that it cannot apply a different test rule at its own border, saying: “As Wales shares an open border with England and as most travelers arriving in Wales enter through ports outside Wales, it is not effective to have separate border health policy arrangements for Wales. “

Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford on Wednesday expressed concern over the UK government’s commitment to end PCR testing for inbound travelers at the end of October.

Speaking to Welshman Senedd, Drakeford said not keeping PCR tests would be “a step forward in the UK government’s duty to the health of the people of this country”.


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