Rip-off Covid tests for returning travellers are set to be scrapped for the double-jabbed in a boost to holiday plans for the autumn half term.
On Friday, Boris Johnson is also expected to replace the traffic light system for travel and reduce the number of countries on the red list.
However, the rules could get a little tighter for the unvaccinated, who may have to quarantine for 10 days whichever country they return from, increasing the incentives to get jabbed.
The overhaul follows six months of fierce criticism over the cost of PCR tests and the complexity of the travel system, which has seen different rules for different groups of nations.
It will complete a week of changes to the Government's Covid approach for the autumn and winter , with a new vaccination drive and approach to Covid restrictions announced.
The exact details of the new travel system remain fluid, with government sources stressing that the package will be finalised only after crunch meetings on Friday.
The Telegraph understands there is already a backlash emerging from the SNP-led Scottish Government, which could pick different rules, and some government scientific advisers.
However, Downing Street is confident that the core elements of Mr Johnson's travel rules shake-up will be implemented.
A senior government source said: "This is about making it easier to travel abroad to see friends and family again, while maintaining protections to keep us safe."
Changes in time for autumn half term
It is hoped within the Government that the reforms can be put in place in time for the autumn half term, which begins on October 25 for many schools.
One core change expected to be signed off on Friday concerns Covid testing when returning from overseas holidays.
Currently, people who are double-jabbed have to take a PCR test on their second day back in the UK. That requirement is expected to change to just a lateral flow test, which is much cheaper than PCR tests that can cost more than £100 .
In addition, people who have been double-jabbed have to take a lateral flow test before they get on a flight home from overseas.
The need for that test could be stopped altogether for the fully vaccinated, though government sources insist that is not yet locked down.
However, the above applies only to people who have had two doses of their Covid vaccine. Rules for people not fully vaccinated will remain tighter.
It is expected the unvaccinated will still have to take a Covid test before boarding a flight home, a PCR test on day two after returning and at least a lateral flow test on day eight. They must also quarantine for 10 days.
Under all the new rules, it is expected that only lateral flow tests paid for by travellers can be used, rather than the free ones given by the Government, so some costs continue.
A second big area of reforms coming is the end of the traffic lights system . Countries will no longer be divided into green, amber and red lists, or any sub-categories between them.
Instead, there will simply be two groupings: all countries that the Government is happy for people to travel to, and a separate red list of countries that pose a Covid risk .
That red list will be much shorter than the current one, according to government sources, with possibly dozens of countries, including Turkey, to be taken off.
This new simplification actually means that the unvaccinated face slightly tougher Covid rules, as they will now have to quarantine from nations that were on the green list.
Mandated hotel quarantine for people returning from red list countries, which means forced stays for 10 days in hotels selected by the Government, will remain.
The Telegraph understands that the Scottish Government could keep PCR tests for the jabbed on day two, splitting with Mr Johnson's new rules for England.
PCR tests proving unpopular
One source also claimed that figures in Public Health England were pushing back on the removal of PCR tests on return, given such test results are logged more efficiently than those from lateral flows.
Tim Alderslade , the chief executive of Airlines UK, urged the Government to press ahead with scrapping PCR testing.
"The economic costs of not reopening are increasing every day and this is the last opportunity to change the travel rules under the Government's own Taskforce timeframe," he said.
"They are removing furlough support for a sector that hasn't been allowed to reopen. We either take this opportunity to pare back these restrictions or thousands of jobs will be at stake and our competitiveness as a trading nation will be further eroded."
Henry Smith, the chairman of the All-Party Future of Aviation group, welcomed the plans for double-jabbed, but said: "A decision needs to be made without any further delay because that is what the industry requires.
"It is draconian for the unvaccinated, but I can see where the Government is coming from, that if you want to travel internationally, getting vaccinated is the best thing to do. It doesn't prevent people from travelling."
Huw Merriman, chair of the Transport Select Committee, saidL “With furlough coming to an end later this month, and over 80 per cent of the country fully vaccinated, the time is right to replace expensive PCR testing with Lateral Flow testing.
“We hear the arguments that only a PCR test can sequence for variants of concern but let's be driven by the NHS Test and Trace data. This showed that, in a three week period in July, over 500,000 people came through arrivals and just under 7,000 of these tested positive; yet just five per cent of those positive cases got sequenced.
“This makes the exercise an expensive sham. If we don't start lifting travel demand to the levels enjoyed by mainland Europe, thousand more people will lose their jobs and even more will be unable to afford to visit countries with lower COVID rates than our own. We need a firm date and not just a commitment to further kick the can down the runway.”
- Grant Shapps announces 'high-value' business travellers returning to England will be EXEMPT from quarantine rules from Saturday - but only if they have been 'undertaking specific business activity' - while sport stars will also be given a free pass
- 'Letting their mates in quarantine-free': Backlash after Grant Shapps announces 'high-value' business travellers returning to England will be EXEMPT from self-isolation rules from Saturday
- Millions of grandparents to be vaccinated ‘within weeks’ as first Covid jabs arrive in Britain
- American Airlines offers at-home COVID tests for US travel
- Bookings to cost — everything you need to know about travel quarantine rule
- State govt wants PMC and PCMC to increase testing
- WHO is looking at 'e-vaccination' certificates to allow people to travel – but says antibodies in people who have recovered from Covid-19 should not qualify for 'immunity passports'
- State-wise quarantine norms for travellers: Here's what you should know before planning an air trip
- First football fans take their seats in stadiums across Britain to enjoy a night of socially-distanced sport as England exits four-week lockdown
- Liverpool's mass-testing scheme is branded a 'shambles' as Covid-stricken patients are allowed to mix with the uninfected in hour-long queues: Top scientists warn ambitious project could be a costly failure
- Care homes will have to WAIT for Pfizer coronavirus vaccine: Jab will be distributed at hospitals first and then GP surgeries because doses can only be transported in batches of 975
- How long until Britain gets its hands on Oxford's Covid vaccine? Officials hope it could be approved BEFORE Christmas... but UK won't get hands on Moderna's until spring (even if it gets the green light tomorrow)
- Professor's Jonathan Van-Tam's 'mum test' won't be enough to convince everyone to get a Covid jab, expert warns
- Maharashtra issues new guidelines for inter-state travel: All your queries answered here
- Airlines offering pre-departure coronavirus testing including EasyJet, Wizz Air and BA
- Operation Beat Covid: How the new jab works, when and where you get it, and who gets it first... your complete family guide to Britain's biggest ever vaccination programme
- Could a travel bubble between New York and London be on the horizon?
- What travelers should know about COVID-19 testing before boarding a plane
- Care home residents could get jab in days: Covid-19 vaccine is due to be rolled out in nursing centres sooner than expected after officials devised a way to split it into small batches for delivery
- Tenerife and Lanzarote planning pre-departure Covid testing at UK airports to restart holidays to the Canaries
Costly PCR tests for double-jabbed travellers returning to Britain expected to be scrapped have 1426 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at September 16, 2021. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.