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Wales and Northern Ireland align with testing relaxation from February 11

Ministers in Wales have stopped advising people not to go on foreign holidays.

Northern Ireland has also followed Westminster in removing travel restrictions for vaccinated arrivals from February 11.

The moves follow the Scottish government aligning with England in relaxing testing rules for international travel from February 11 in what was described as being on a UK-wide basis.

Wales first minister Mark Drakeford said the change was due to the Omicron wave waning and high vaccination rates.

 “We will no longer advise people to only travel overseas if their journey is essential,” he said in a statement.

Drakeford reportedly said the advice now was for everyone “to think of their own personal and family circumstances and how best they can keep themselves safe if they decide to travel abroad this year”.

“As we move beyond the Omicron wave of Covid-19 we will also see a greater opportunity for individuals to return to making decisions based on their own circumstances,” he said.

 “On that basis, and because of the vaccination success set out above, we will no longer advise people to only travel overseas if their journey is essential.”

He has continued to criticise the UK government for relaxing testing restrictions on people returning to the UK from abroad, but says the “practical difficulties” of taking a different approach in Wales means ministers here are “reluctantly retaining alignment” with their decisions.

That means that from February 11, fully vaccinated travellers returning to Wales will no longer have to take a Covid test two days before arriving in the UK.

But Drakeford said: “We continue to raise our concerns with the UK government about the speed at which it has removed public health protections in relation to international travel and the progressive erosion of such protections.”

The Northern Ireland Executive said: “The Department of Health has confirmed the removal of a number of travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers arriving into Northern Ireland.

“From 0400hrs on 11 February 2022 fully vaccinated travellers arriving from non-red list countries will only have to complete a UK Passenger Locator Form with no additional requirement for testing or isolation.

“Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to complete a UK Passenger Locator Form, take a pre-departure test 48 hours before arriving into Northern Ireland and book and pay for a day 2 PCR post arrival test. These individuals will only be required to self-isolate if they test positive following the day 2 PCR test.

“From 4am on 11 February, 16 further countries will be added to the eligible vaccination arrivals policy. Vaccine certificates will now be accepted from Algeria, Cape Verde, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macao SAR [Special Administrative Region], Mexico, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, and Turkmenistan.”

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