All Travellers to UK Set to Require Negative Covid-19 Test
8th January 2021
Last modified on January 11th, 2021
It is a further blow to travel whether from ski nations or anywhere else. It comes as the South African variant is circulating. It is seen as a necessary measure to beat coronavirus with much international travel at a halt.
People arriving by plane, train or boat, including UK nationals, will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in.
It will be on top of the rule to self-isolate for 10 days when arriving in the UK.
In reality it will make little difference to people planning to go to a ski nation from the UK as we are currently pretty much banned from them all.
Yesterday France confirmed its borders with the UK will remain closed to the vast majority.
The closure will remain in place until further notice, the French PM said to prevent the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus which is more infectious.
It has been dubbed the ‘Variant Anglais’ by some in France.
France closed its border with Britain on December 20th.
At present only certain groups of people are allowed into France from the UK and they must present a negative Covid-19 test at the border:
- French or European citizens.
- Those who live in France or another EU country.
- Essential workers.
Second-home owners, tourists, people going skiing/snowboarding and those visiting family are barred.
It is partly Covid-19, and partly Brexit.
Travellers from all non-EU countries – and that now includes the UK after Brexit – are not be able to visit the EU and Schengen countries except for a certain number of essential reasons.
There are border restrictions in place for other ski nations including Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Spain, plus the Scandinavian countries.
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said the government was “very keen to do it now” because of the new variant of the virus circulating in South Africa, which he said was “causing great concern with the scientists”.
There are concerns the current vaccines will not work against it.
People who arrive in the UK without proof of a negative test could face an immediate £500 fine.
There are some exemptions:
- children under 11
- those travelling from countries without the infrastructure to deliver tests – although details of those have not been released yet
- arrivals from the Common Travel Area with Ireland.
“If this will help, then so be it,” said John Holland-Kaye, the head of Heathrow.
“It can only be a temporary measure, very few people will travel with this in place,”
Here are more details as reported on the BBC:
When and where?
England is expected to bring in the requirement of a negative test next week while Scotland will implement it “as soon as possible”.
Officials are said to be working with devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland on extended similar measures to the entire UK.
How will it work?
Arrivals, including UK nationals, will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in so they can show their negative test result.
“We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
Fines of £500 can be issued to travellers who do not comply, but there will be exemptions for groups such as hauliers, children under 11, and those travelling from countries without the infrastructure to deliver tests.
Arrivals from the Common Travel Area with Ireland will also be exempt.