UK Tightening Entry Requirements for All Travelers from December 7

UK Tightening Entry Requirements for All Travelers from December 7

The UK is further extending COVID-19 entry restrictions to all overseas visitors following the discovery of 134 new cases of novel Omicron strain in the UK.

Visitors aged 12 and above must present proof of a negative pre-departure test — either PCR or lateral flow (LFD) — taken no more than 48 hours before their departure for the United Kingdom beginning Dec. 7.

The new regulation applies to everyone regardless of their vaccination status.

Earlier today, Nigeria was added to England, Scotland, and Wales’s travel red lists, joining other southern African nations from which travel is impossible for non-UK citizens. 

Returning UK nationals and residents permit holders traveling from red-listed countries must now take a COVID test three days prior to arrival to England, book a quarantine hotel package (which must include two COVID-19 tests), and fill out the passenger locator form.

Karen Dee, president and CEO of the Airport Operators Association, told PA Media that the new regulations will be a huge barrier to tourism recovery.

“Most of the limited remaining demand following the reintroduction of self-isolation will now fall away, just as airports were hoping for a small uplift over the Christmas holiday,” she said.

The CEO argues that alongside the restrictions, the UK should have announced support for the air travel industry now that airports and employees are facing another shutdown period.

According to a recent study undertaken by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA), the time between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant.

As a result, governments would be forced to reduce the time window for pre-departure testing, as positive cases would be more likely to be identified before travel.

“As our world-leading scientists continue to understand more about the Omicron variant we are taking decisive action to protect public health and the progress of our COVID-19 vaccination program,” said the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid

The official also advised citizens to help prevent the virus from spreading by adhering to the new travel rules, wearing face masks, and “most importantly, getting the booster jab when called.”

The total number of confirmed Omicron cases had increased to 160 on Saturday, up 26 from the previous day, according to the UKHSA.