Boost for family holidays as new EU rules mean children who have recently recovered from Covid will be welcome in Europe without testing
- People who have had Covid in the last 180 days can enter the EU without testing
- Those who have had their second vaccine dose within 270 days can also do so
- Move will allow children yet to have their second dose to have easier travelling
Families have been boosted by new EU travel rules which will allow children who have recently recovered from Covid to enter without testing.
The rules will allow people who have had Covid in the last 180 days to enter EU member states without any extra swabs.
And those who have had their second vaccine dose within 270 days or booster will also be given free travel in the bloc.
Previously, countries including Spain were only letting in people who have been boosted, while France required everyone show a negative test on arrival.
The change will mean children who have had one dose of the vaccine and then caught the virus will now be able to enter the countries more easily.
Under UK rules, children aged 12 to 15 have to wait 12 weeks between their second dose if they are infected after their first.
Families have been boosted by new EU travel rules which will allow children who have recently recovered from Covid to enter without testing
Britain has a lower Covid case rate than most EU member states, with Denmark currently the worst affected by a wave of infections
WHAT ARE THE NEW TRAVEL RULES?
What were the changes this week?
From February 11, fully vaccinated arrivals in the UK will no longer need to take a coronavirus test.
The requirement for those not in that category to self-isolate will also be dropped.
Grant Shapps also confirmed that 12 to 15-year-olds in England will be able to prove their vaccination status via the digital NHS pass for international outbound travel.
What does it mean for children going to the EU?
Children will be able to show their infection history on the NHS app when entering EU countries.
Member states will now allow those who have had an infection within 180 days to enter the country without having to test.
How will it affect them on return to the UK?
All under-18s returning to Britain have the same status as fully vaccinated travellers.
They will not have to self-isolate on arrival.
Are there any exceptions to the EU rules?
While all member states have signed up to the changes, they are still allowed to impose their own testing rules.
This means they may change what tests are needed and for whom at any stage.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday announced children aged 12 to 15 will now be able to show proof of prior infection on the NHS app from February 3 for travelling.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, praised the move as ‘good news’ for families.
She told The Times: ‘The fact the NHS pass will now show recovery for children is very good news and will enable families not only to visit more countries but also enjoy the facilities, such as bars, restaurants and museums, in those that require a pass.’
But she urged the UK to follow suit and accept Covid recovery as a reason not to have to take a day two test on return to the country.
She said: ‘Under the current rules, someone who has had one dose and Covid is still classed as unjabbed.
‘It means that even when rules ease next month they’ll still have to take a day two test.’
It comes as travel firms brace themselves for a surge of summer holiday bookings this weekend, with one company predicting it will be the busiest two-day period in its history.
Demand has been high in recent days after Monday’s announcement that coronavirus testing for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the UK will be dropped from February 11.
But holiday sales are expected to increase dramatically this weekend as it follows the first pay day after Christmas for millions of workers.
Simon Cooper, chief executive of online travel giant On the Beach – which launched in 2004, said he believes the coming days will be ‘the busiest we’ve ever been in our history’.
He said: ‘We would expect it to be a bumper weekend, with people who’ve been researching holidays all the way through the month jumping on and booking.
‘The overall volume has been warming up through the month.’
Scrapping the requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals to take a pre-departure test earlier this month sparked the rise in demand.
Mr Cooper said he believes the number of people going on foreign holidays this summer will be ‘as big, if not bigger’ than before the pandemic.
The Greek islands, Turkey and Dubai are among the destinations selling strongly.
The UK’s biggest tour operator, Tui, predicted this will be its busiest weekend for bookings since the pandemic began.
Chief marketing officer Katie McAlister said renewed confidence is ‘releasing pent-up demand for sunshine holidays’.
She added: ‘Appetite to travel is stronger than ever and customers who may not have been abroad for more than two years are now taking advantage of flexible booking and payment options, as well as some excellent deals, to book a well-deserved summer break.’
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren announced on Thursday that the easing of coronavirus restrictions means the UK is ‘leading on bookings versus Europe for the first time since spring 2020’.
The low-cost airline plans to operate its largest number of summer flights between the UK and beach destinations this year.