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Travel news: UK makes changes to travel tests

An image of Sydney Opera House, Australia

December is a bit of a mixed bag for travel: some good news, some bad.

Concerns surrounding the Omicron variant means that some travel testing restrictions in the UK have been tightened again.

On the plus side, both Australia and New Zealand have shared their plans to reopen their borders to overseas visitors.

Keep reading to find out more.

Changes to pre-departure and day two testing

Due to the concern around the Omicron variant of Covid-19, everyone needs to take either a lateral flow or PCR test within 48 hours before travelling back to the UK. You’ll need to show proof of a negative result to be able to board your return flight.

When back in the UK, everyone needs to take a PCR test within two days of arriving. This has to be a PCR test (unlike the pre-departure test) and travellers need to self-isolate until they get a negative result back.

These changes apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, returning from countries not on the red list.

Australia moves to next stage of reopening travel

Australia is continuing with their plans to reopen for tourists as part of a phased scheme to try and prevent outbreaks of Covid.

Skilled workers, eligible visa holders, and international students will be allowed to enter without quarantine. Everyone who enters needs to be fully vaccinated and follow the local restrictions of the state or territory they’re going to.

The Australian government are still reviewing when to allow tourism to come back. They’re set to assess the situation before the end of the year, and put together a phased plan for holidaymakers to be allowed to travel there.

New Zealand prepares to reopen in 2022

New Zealand also has a phased plan for reopening for tourism, after the country closed its borders back in March 2020 with very strict Covid restrictions.

Everyone who wants to travel to New Zealand will need to show proof of vaccination and a negative test, and self-isolate for the first seven days of being back. They’ll also need to sign a declaration that they haven’t been to a ‘high risk’ country.

The first phase, to begin on 16 January, will allow citizens and residents currently in Australia to travel back to New Zealand.

The second phase, from 13 February, will allow remaining citizens and residents from the rest of the world (excluding ‘high risk’ countries) to travel.

The third and final stage, starting on 30 April, will see tourists being allowed back into New Zealand.

Flybe to be based in Birmingham

Recently relaunched airline, Flybe, is set to base their new headquarters at Birmingham Airport.

Flybe is set to resume services within the UK and EU in spring 2022, with an estimated 600 jobs to be created across the country as the airline relaunches.

200 of those jobs are set to be based in the West Midlands. Birmingham Airport has welcomed this announcement as they continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

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