With the discovery of a new variant of coronavirus which is spreading throughout the world, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has issued new advice on international travel.
As of 8th December the new variant is still being studied. There’s not much at the moment to suggest the vaccines are less effective against it, or that is causes more illness. However, as a precaution the FCDO has issued new guidance for travellers.
*Update December 2021: The Government has announced that all African nations are now removed from the red list. This means travellers from these countries to England do not need to quarantine. However, testing is still required and all travellers to England must have a pre-arrival negative PCR or lateral flow test taken within the 48 hours before arriving. Arrivals must also self-isolate until they get a negative result from a PCR test.
A full list of any red list countries and links to all the relevant advice can be found on the GOV.UK red list guidance page. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales my have slightly different entry requirements and you can find details for each of the devolved nations on the same page.
*Update 5th January From 7th January the Government have removed the need to take a test before entering the country. All travellers over 12 years of age entering the UK from any country must take a lateral flow test 2 days after entering the country and self-isolate if it is positive. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may have different rules and these can be found on the governments travel advice pages.
Countries are changing their travel rules at short notice due to the new coronavirus Omicron variant. If you have booked travel or are planning to travel to any country or territory in the future, you can sign up for a travel alert. This will keep you up to date with current guidance for that particular country. Just navigate to the GOV.UK travel advice page, select the country or territory you are interested in and you will find a link to sign up for email alerts.
Check Entry requirements
It’s important to check the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to and be familiar with the restrictions and advice in that particular country. This could range from a period of self-isolation to wearing of face coverings and restrictions on entry to venues. It is recommended that you are fully vaccinated before you travel because many countries have stricter rules for visitors that are not vaccinated and some won’t allow entry at all. The GOV.UK travel advice pages are again, the best source of information or the official government websites of the country concerned.
Check travel insurance.
It is recommended that you take out travel insurance and check that it covers you for Covid-19 related issues. Most travel insurance providers will cover this now. The FCDO also recommend you have extra funds available in case you are unable to travel back when scheduled or any similar eventualities.
Further official advice can be found across the Governments social media channels:
In a rapidly changing landscape for international travel its important to keep up to date with the travel advice from the FCDO and the country or territory you are planning to visit. Fortunately, this is made very easy by the resources explained in this article. Winter is traditionally a quieter time for travel and fingers and everything else crossed that we can have a better outcome and less restrictions when we come to take our summer holidays in 2022!Stay Informed
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