| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

UK to require pre-departure COVID-19 tests for all travelers

Due to the Omicron strain, the UK government has declared that people traveling into the nation would need to present a negative coronavirus test before to departure.

Anyone flying to the UK from 0400 GMT on Tuesday will be required to provide proof of a negative lateral flow or PCR test done within the past 48 hours before boarding an aircraft, the health ministry announced late Saturday.

Read the most recent changes in our coronavirus area.

This applies to all passengers above the age of 12 from any nation. Currently, tourists must undergo a PCR test within two days after their arrival.

The reinstatement of mandatory pre-departure testing elicited a vehement reaction from the tourism sector.

The Business Travel Association described the policy as a “hammer strike,” while the Airport Operators Association described it as a “devastating setback, since they dissuade people from traveling.”

Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, told Sky News that he realized the new policy would be a “tax for the tourism sector,” but that the UK needed to act.

“We need to take forensic steps to stop the new variation sowing in this nation before it becomes a greater problem.”

The government has promised to “take additional decisive steps if necessary to control the virus and new variation.”

The UK previously banned flights from South Africa and placed ten African nations on its red list, which means that only UK and Irish nationals or UK residents are permitted to fly from there to the UK. Nigeria will be added to the list on Monday.

Travel restrictions and prohibitions, according to experts, will not stop the virus’s spread.

According to Sky News, statistician David Spiegelhalter, a University of Cambridge professor who co-authored a history of the epidemic, “travel restrictions at the present will simply slow things down a little bit… but they’re not going to stop it (Omicron) and it’s going to get in.”

In reaction to the new variety, the UK has made masks mandatory again in stores and on public transportation, with 160 Omicron cases verified so far.

The United Kingdom has similarly expanded its booster program to include all adults.

  • AFP