What Are the New Testing Restrictions? – .

What Are the New Testing Restrictions? – .

The testing rules for travelers to the UK will largely revert to what they were months ago, the Health Secretary said.
Airlines, vacation companies and cruise and ferry companies are dismayed by the government’s latest turnaround, just a week after the redlist was reactivated and testing rules tightened.

Sajid Javid has also extended the red list, forcing travelers returning from Nigeria who arrive after 4 a.m. on Monday, December 6 to self-quarantine at the hotel at the cost of thousands of pounds.

These are the key questions and answers.

What changed?

Just a week after tightening the rules on testing, the government added additional Covid-19 checks for everyone traveling to the UK.

Additionally, arrivals from Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, will be required to enter “managed isolation,” as hotel quarantine is called, for 11 nights. They join travelers from 10 southern African countries. The move responds to concerns about the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. It follows 21 cases of omicron reported in England which are linked to travel from Africa’s most populous country.

Mr. Javid tweeted: “In light of the most recent data, we are taking additional steps to slow the incursion of the omicron variant.

‘From 4 a.m. on Monday, only UK and Irish citizens and residents from Nigeria will be allowed entry and will be required to self-isolate in a managed quarantine facility.

“And, starting at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, anyone traveling to the UK from countries not on the Red List will be required to take a pre-departure test, regardless of their vaccination status. “

The rule applies to all travelers aged 12 or over.

The Health Secretary added: “Vaccines remain our first line of defense – the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

“Please get vaccinated or #GetBoosted as soon as you can. “

What tests do I need now?

Starting at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, arrivals must pass a pre-departure test, which can be rapid antigen / lateral flow, in addition to the post-arrival PCR. NHS tests cannot be used.

It must be taken within 48 hours of departure for the UK. The government said: ‘New analysis by the UK Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA) indicates that the window between infection and infectivity may be shorter for the omicron variant, which increases efficacy pre-departure testing as it is more likely to identify positive cases prior to travel.

“In view of the short incubation period of the omicron variant, passengers are advised to take the pre-departure test as close as possible to their intended departure to the UK and no earlier than 48 hours before travel. “

The move will add cost and complexity to Christmas and New Year’s plans for millions of travelers – and increase uncertainty for anyone considering leaving.

How much is it going to cost? Pre-departure testing will depend on local prices – typically € 25 to € 30 (£ 21 to £ 25) in Europe.

A negative certificate must be presented to the airline, shipping company or rail operator before departure. Additionally, every traveler aged five or over (from 11 in Scotland) must book a post-arrival PCR test, which typically costs between £ 40 and £ 70.

Haven’t we been here before?

Yes, from May to September 2021 fully vaccinated travelers in the UK had to undergo pre-departure and post-arrival testing. The pre-departure test was abolished three months ago, and travelers could opt for a cheaper and faster lateral flow test on arrival.

In addition, the red list was emptied two months ago. At the time, Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said, “We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good.

“Today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel industry. “

Periods are back to what they were in the summer – with the added twist of travelers being forced to self-isolate until a negative PCR result is received.

Mr Shapps tweeted on Saturday night: ‘As scientists work to understand the new omicron variant, we need to be more careful until the picture is clearer.

“We understand that it will be difficult for the travel industry as we prioritize public health and protect the progress of our world-leading vaccination and recall program. “

What if someone tests positive for omicron on my flight?

You must isolate yourself for 10 days.

What does this do to the confidence of travelers?

The will to travel is eroding quickly. With two very big changes in the span of a week, many travelers will conclude that the risk of being caught in hotel quarantine or surprisingly high testing costs make travel too uncertain.

How has the travel industry reacted?

With renewed fury at the government’s latest turnaround on testing.

British Airways Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said: “The general reintroduction of testing to enter the UK, in addition to the current regime of isolation and PCR testing on arrival is completely out of step with the rest of the world, with all other countries taking a measured, science-based approach.

“Our customers will now be faced with uncertainty and chaos and once again this is a devastating blow to all who work in the travel industry. “

Martin Chalk, general secretary of the Balpa pilots’ union, said: the first time since Covid, now is a cruel joke. “

Tim Alderslade, CEO of industry body Airlines UK, said: “It is premature to reach millions of passengers and the industry before seeing the full data. We don’t have clinical evidence.

“We know from experience that general restrictions do not stop the importation of variants. It’s already there.

“They’ve now changed their travel tips twice in a week and it’s just not possible for anyone to plan.

“These measures must be lifted as quickly as possible depending on the pace of the recovery program. “

He added, however, that “The extension of the Red List made perfect sense – that’s what it’s there for. “

Seasoned tour guide and photographer Paul Goldstein said: “This dismal government seems determined to drive some nails into the coffin of industry and starve everyone in Africa.

“The variant is well and truly out of the bag anyway and I find it hard to see how this draconian edict could ever be described as ‘learning to live with Covid’. “

A way out of Nigeria before the deadline?

British Airways has seats on the Lagos-London Heathrow Sunday night service for £ 1,575. The flight is scheduled to arrive at 4:50 am, and BA may try to bring it back so that the wheels touch the ground before 4:00 am Monday.

From the capital, Abuja, there are no direct flights before the deadline. Four remaining seats on Monday’s daytime flight to Heathrow are available at £ 730 one way, but the service will arrive too late.

The independent could not find any connecting flights from Lagos or Abuja on Sunday arriving before the Monday deadline at 4 a.m.

Anyone arriving from Nigeria before the 4 a.m. Monday deadline will be “strongly encouraged to self-isolate at home, and their household should also self-isolate for 10 days from arrival.”

Are there ways to bypass the red list?

Some travelers will travel, legally and responsibly, from Nigeria to a third country and stay there for a full 10 days before continuing to the UK. Egypt is a possibility.

Anyone seeking to ‘whitewash’ their Red List status in this way must verify that the third country will allow it and take the risk that the chosen location itself will be placed on the Red List.

Are there enough quarantine rooms at the hotel?

The government said it had “committed several new hotels to come on stream this week, in response to the likely number of UK residents who will want to travel from Nigeria before Christmas.”

But travelers will not be allowed to travel to the UK from a Red List country without a ‘managed quarantine service’ reservation. They may therefore have to stay in Nigeria until a hotel quarantine room is available.

When will the rules change again?

On November 27, the prime minister said a review would be conducted and announced on Saturday, December 18. This will now take place on Monday, December 20.


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