PCR tests for double-vaccinated travellers ‘to be dropped’

Ministers are preparing to lift the requirement for double-jabbed travellers to take PCR tests when they return to the UK, according to reports.

The tests will be scrapped for holidaymakers returning from green and amber list countries in what will prove to be a boost for the beleaguered travel industry.

Instead of expensive PCR tests on the second day after arrival, they will be asked to take a lateral flow test, which are currently offered for free by the NHS, according to the Mail on Sunday.

It could help cut the cost of holidays by hundreds of pounds for families, a financial barrier that has deterred millions from overseas trips this year.

The Government is also said to be preparing to introduce Covid jabs for children aged 12 to 15, as part of a mass vaccination campaign starting in schools at the end of the month.

The vaccination plans will be announced this week – as the Prime Minister unveils his winter plan for Covid – with a view to starting the programme on Sept 22.

The move threatens to provoke a backbench rebellion, after 26 Tory MPs warned on Friday that overruling expert advice risks "dissolving the bond of trust" between the public and the Government.

Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) failed to recommend jabs for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds, whom they said would only receive marginal benefits.

In a letter to Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, MPs said that the Government’s willingness to "ignore" the JCVI is a cause for "serious concern".

However, Mr Javid said that he wanted Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and his counterparts from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to "consider the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds from a broader perspective".

On Saturday night, The Observer reported that ministers were planning to push ahead with the plans, but may consider stepping back from proposals to widen the use of Covid passports.

NHS leaders have been briefed about the vaccination drive and schools are preparing to introduce the programme, according to the report. A Department of Health source said, however, that ministers had not received any final advice from the chief medical officers.

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