Covid: UK tightens travel rules with pre-departure Covid tests required for arrivals

Health Minister Sajid Javid said it was because of ‘a growing number of travel-related cases’. (Image: PA)

Travelers arriving in the UK will be required to be tested for Covid prior to departure to prevent the spread of the Omicrom variant.

The rule applies to new arrivals as well as residents returning from the holiday and will go into effect at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, December 7.

Tests must be performed up to 48 hours prior to departure, regardless of vaccination status.

Health Minister Sajid Javid said it was because of ‘a growing number of travel-related cases’.

Nigeria has also been added to the UK’s travel red list, meaning most travel is banned and UK citizens returning must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. at a cost of £2,000.

It is the 11th country to be added to the red list since the arrival of Omicron in South Africa last week.

Mr Javid said Nigeria was ‘second only to South Africa in terms of Omicron-related cases’.

“In recent days we have learned of a number of significant cases involving travel with Nigeria,” he said.

‘There have been 27 cases in the UK and that number is growing.’

Mr Javid acknowledged that the measures were ‘extremely regrettable’ for those already planning to travel, but insisted they would only be ‘temporary’.

“We want to remove them as soon as possible,” he added.

He also urged the public to get vaccinated, saying vaccines are still our first line of defense’.

The Government has announced that people arriving in the UK must self-isolate until they receive a negative result from a PCR test.

The measure went into effect earlier this week, along with the mandatory return of masks in stores and public transport.

Boris Johnson has insisted people should enjoy Christmas festivities as usual amid fears that there are more restrictions on the way.

It is hoped that border measures and an accelerated program will be enough to stem a new wave of infections.

Scientists say the new variant has a higher rate of reinfection, but a study yesterday said it’s likely the boosters will protect against Omicrons, preventing deaths and hospitalizations.

The Government is aiming to give all adults in the UK a third dose by January, with the time between the second and third doses reduced to three months.

His introduction of pre-departure Covid tests for travelers entering the UK has been seen by the chief executive of the Airport Operators Association as a “devastating blow” to tourism.

Karen Dee says the policy, effective December 7, will act as a “primary containment measure” for travel.

“This is a devastating blow to the aviation and tourism industries,” she said.

‘Pre-departure tests act as a deterrent to travel and most of the limited demand left after the reintroduction of self-isolation will now be gone, just like the The airport is hoping for a small increase over the Christmas break.

‘Tourism and aviation are the only sectors restricted from operating under the Omicron variant.

‘The UK and development governments should have done the right thing and along with the restrictions, have announced to support our businesses and staff through another period of shutdown.’

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Huynh Nguyen

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