There was good news for UK holidaymakers last week thanks to the rollback of omicron travel restrictions. Pre-departure testing was done for fully vaccinated Brits, while Day 2 testing no longer needs to be expensive PCRs – with no obligation to self-isolate while you wait for your result.
Still, many other rules persist, adding cost and hassle to every overseas trip. Plus, the threat of new restrictions persists, robbing you of the joy of planning your next break. The numbers show the impact of last minute changes. More than 600,000 travelers canceled flights from Heathrow in December, following the latest tightening of restrictions. Heathrow’s passenger count for 2021 is a clear barometer of traveler confidence: they were the lowest since the 1970s.
Now that the first two doses of the vaccine and the booster shots have been rolled out to all UK adults, the travel industry wants the cutting and the change – and, ideally, the other restrictions – to end. Heathrow Managing Director John Holland-Kaye said today: “There are currently travel restrictions, such as testing, on all routes at Heathrow. The aviation industry will not fully recover until these will all be lifted and there is no risk that they will be re-imposed in the short term.
Grant Shapps, the secretary of transportation, said in the latest travel update that the government wants to provide more certainty for passengers. He confirmed that a full review of international travel measures for this year will be completed by the end of 2022. Here are five of the most urgent nonsense that need to be removed.
Practice Day 2
Cheaper lateral flow tests are now acceptable. These make more sense than PCR tests since the results are almost immediate. Among the list of government approved testers, some vendors often failed to deliver PCR results on time, if at all. In endorsing providers with slow or poor service, the government has highlighted that travel testing may have less to do with preventing the spread of the virus than offering a political tool.
The best approach would be to: take a side if you have symptoms, before, during or after the trip. Why should international travelers bear the extra layer of hassle and the cost of a private test on return, for example, from the Maldives (where they are likely to have spent the most time outdoors away from other travelers), while anyone traveling to the UK is spared this stress?
The seven-day case rate in the Maldives is 408.87 per 100,000 population; that of the United Kingdom, by comparison, is 1,791.21. They traveled by plane, you say? Well, on this trip they would have been subjected to tighter controls (masks at the airport and in the air; regular temperature control) than a Briton who had spent a weekend in pubs or clubs – as permitted by England’s internal rules.
In September 2021, pre-omicron research found that even travelers who had visited Red List countries were less likely to contract Covid than those in the UK.
The hotel’s quarantine policy
This most draconian rule waits like a specter to spoil the holidays in 2022. The 11 countries were removed from the red list on December 15, which means that arriving passengers would now be subject to government quarantine in the UK. United. Yet this positive step came with a caveat.
“The managed quarantine hotel policy remains in place to act as a crucial line of defense against the import of worrying variants,” read the official release.
“Prison-like” conditions in which travelers paid thousands of pounds for often poor accommodation and even poorer livelihoods were a clear punishment for travelers and industry. There were even allegations that female guests were sexually harassed by security guards.
If a new “worrying variant” were to emerge, rather than reverting to this instinctive sanction, the government could use self-isolation for travelers returning from relevant destinations – a sane idea that was launched in December.
The passenger tracking form
An obnoxious administrative element, with details kept on file for weeks, the passenger locator form could be the last piece of Covid travel paraphernalia to go.
Travelers may have opted for every Covid-19 jab offered to them, tested negative multiple times during their trip, and still need to explain their whereabouts throughout their trip and for 10 days after their trip. return.
My recent experience revealed that if you make a mistake on this form it is very difficult (read: impossible) to find someone to talk to to rectify your case. It appears that resubmitting the form does not update the information held by government departments.
It might seem like a small downside compared to the other Covid admin, and yet any queue at the airport will reveal the added stress it places on travelers.
Strict rules for the unvaccinated
Whatever your opinion on regulations to encourage vaccination, the unvaccinated travelers rule defies common sense.
Take this, for example: An unvaccinated traveler may test negative for Covid, have no symptoms, and still be required to self-isolate for up to 10 days when a fully vaccinated person who has tested positive may be self-isolating. isolate for only seven days.
An unvaccinated passenger could opt for a Release Test on Day 5 (the arrival day being Day 0). If that test returns a negative result, they could end their self-isolation, but would still be required to take a Day 8 test.
Warnings about changing vaccine rules
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on January 4 that booster shots for travel are likely to become “the norm” very soon.
Even for those who have enthusiastically accepted the third jab, that leaves a disturbing question: when will this end? Would deploying a fourth dose add an extra layer to the UK’s Covid Pass for Travel? If Covid-19 vaccines were to become an annual (or perhaps more regular) occurrence for everyone, will they still have to be up to date to return to our own country without facing quarantine?
Protection against recent infection, meanwhile, has yet to be recognized by UK government rules for return to England.
Evidence of a previous infection is available through the NHS app and is recognized by a number of countries as an alternative to testing requirements (keeping in mind that those who have recovered from Covid in the past three months are likely to return a false positive result on a PCR test, even if their risk of infection has long since passed). The natural antibodies from a Covid infection are believed to reduce your risk of carrying or contracting the virus, writes Hazel Plush.
The British rules ignore it; only a full vaccination will exempt you from 10 days of isolation coverage.