PCR test covid

England will end PCR test requirements for arriving travellers. Image: Adobe Stock

Breaking: UK to scrap pre-arrival PCR test requirements

The United Kingdom will end pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR testing and travel isolation requirements for visitors this week.

PCR test covid

England will end PCR test requirements for arriving travellers. Image: Adobe Stock

Travel and flight bans have placed the United Kingdom (UK) out of bounds to most South Africans for nearly two years. There is good news on the horizon for travellers to the UK as revised entry requirements pave the way to easier admission for travellers arriving in the country.

The UK, which only last month scrapped its red-list requirements for visitors arriving from high-risk countries is now making it easier for travellers to enter.


The UK’s red-listing of South Africa for extended periods over the last year has made it difficult and onerous for South Africans to make discretionary trips to the UK.

It was equally unattractive for UK residents to travel to South Africa due to entry requirements which included PCR testing and even hotel quarantine stays of 10 nights when entering the United Kingdom.  

This has had a severe impact on South Africa’s embattled tourism sector after it welcomed more than 400 000 visitors from the United Kingdom in 2019.


The UK has been a difficult destination to travel to since the onset of the pandemic due to the restrictions placed on arrivals from destinations listed on the UK’s red-list.

This has resulted in a number of South Africans (and Brits who live in South Africa) being unable to travel back to the UK for births, marriages, graduations, funerals, and other such events. The United Kingdom is home to the largest number of South Africans living outside of South Africa.


The BBC reports that pre-departure COVID tests to enter the UK from abroad, will be scrapped from 04:00 on Friday 7 January and that from Sunday 9 January, visitors won’t need to take a PCR test and isolate before their test result is received.

Travellers will only need a lateral flow test after arrival – with no isolation requirement while awaiting the test result. 


According to the BBC, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that the country will stick to its Plan B health and safety measures. There will be no tightening of restrictions at this stage.

This includes mandatory face mask requirements for most indoor settings, advice to work from home and COVID-19 passport requirements for entry to large venues.

ALSO READ: Expect delays in UK entry visas due to global backlog