How do the new travel rules affect me?

·2 min read

New rules are being introduced for arriving travellers due to fears over the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Here the PA news agency answers 11 key questions about what is changing.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

– What is happening?

From 4am on Tuesday, everyone arriving in the UK must have taken a coronavirus test in the 48 hours before their departure.

– What type of test is required?

Lateral flow tests are accepted, which are cheaper and quicker than PCR tests.

– Can I get a test from the NHS?

NHS tests cannot be used for international travel. People must purchase a test from a private company.

A quarantine hotel
The quarantine hotel system has been resurrected (Steve Parsons/PA)

– What other testing rules have changed due to the Omicron strain?

Even fully vaccinated arrivals must now take a post-arrival PCR test, and self-isolate until they get a negative result.

– How about if I am not fully vaccinated?

You must continue to purchase two post-arrival PCR tests, and self-isolate for 10 days.

– How do I get a post-arrival test?

You must order it from a company listed on the Government’s website, but there are long-standing complaints that some firms have misleading prices and poor service.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

– What about the red list?

The list was scrapped in October, but it has been resurrected due to fears over the new variant.

On Monday, Nigeria became the 11th country to be added. All the countries are in Africa.

– What happens if I arrive from a red list country?

Arrivals from destinations on the list must spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

– Why is the reintroduction of the red list so controversial?

Some UK holidaymakers were already in red list countries when the announcement was made, meaning they have unexpectedly been required to enter a quarantine hotel on their return.

PCR test samples
All UK arrivals must take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result (Jane Barlow/PA)

– How has the travel sector responded to the changes?

UK travel bosses are frustrated that new rules are being imposed just weeks after restrictions were eased, and before the impact of Omicron is fully understood.

– What does the Government say?

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said “we are taking decisive action to protect public health” when the latest rule changes were announced.

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