The rules of travel are changing yet again. On Tuesday, new PCR testing rules for visitors arriving in the UK take effect.
Following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant, the omicron, in South Africa, the entire world is reinstituting covid testing for international arrivals and, in some cases, outlandish bans, further complicating international travel that was already complicated.
The United Kingdom previously banned flights from South Africa and placed ten African countries on its “red list,” which means that the only UK and Irish citizens or citizens can travel from those countries to the UK, including Nigeria.
All international visitors to the UK will be obliged to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test, according to the health secretary.
Except for Ireland and Ethiopia, the government has added extra Covid-19 checks for anyone aged 12 and up traveling to the UK from any foreign country.
The UK government said in a statement, “From 4 am on Tuesday, anyone wishing to travel to the UK from countries and territories, not on the red list must…show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow pre-departure test, taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure. This applies to vaccinated passengers and children aged 12 and above.”
Some people, such as children under the age of 11, are not required to take the test.
Airlines will be forced to validate for pre-departure tests besides a finished traveler locator form, according to the government, and passengers will not be enabled to board a flight unless they can show proof of a negative test result.
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the total number of confirmed Omicron cases increased to 160 on Saturday, up from 26 the day before.
The travel industry was outraged when the rules were changed.
Tim Alderslade, the CEO of Airlines UK, described the decision as “premature.”
‘Our customers will now face uncertainty and chaos,’ says British Airways CEO Sean Doyle.
The new PCR testing rules, according to the CEO of the Airport Operators Association, are a “devastating blow” to the travel industry.
“If necessary, the government will take further decisive action to contain the virus and new variant,” the government has stated.
Masks are now required in shops and on public transportation in England.