Thu. May 26th, 2022

Aviation operators have said that the return of corona tests before departure for all international arrivals to the UK would be a “devastating blow to aviation and tourism”.

The rule is being introduced to counter the spread of Omicron variant and applies to all travelers over the age of 12 visiting the UK or returning from a holiday, regardless of vaccination status. It will take effect from 4 a.m. on Tuesday, December 7th.

Health Minister Sajid Javid said the measure was due to an “increasing number of travel-related cases”. Samples must be taken a maximum of 48 hours before departure time.

Everything you need to know as the COVID travel rules change again

Passengers on international flights arrive at Heathrow Airport following the outbreak of coronavirus
People arriving at Heathrow must now take a coronation test before departure

British Airways chairman and CEO Sean Doyle described the move as a “devastating blow”.

He said: “The general reintroduction of testing to enter the UK, on ​​top of the current regime of isolation and PCR testing on arrival is completely out of step with the rest of the world, with every other country taking a measured approach based on on science.

“Our customers will now be confronted with uncertainty and chaos, and it is once again a devastating blow to everyone working in the travel industry.”

The Airport Operators Association reiterated Mr Doyle’s words, saying pre-departure testing would be a “devastating blow to aviation and tourism”.

A man looks at a check-in information board in the departure area of ​​Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London, UK, on ​​17 May 2021. REUTERS / John Sibley / File Photo
The travel industry has expressed anger over the recent government move

Tim UK Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said the rapid changes in UK entry requirements had made it “impossible” for the travel industry to plan ahead.

He said: “It is too early to hit millions of passengers and industry before we see the full data.

“We do not have the clinical documentation. The red list extension made complete sense – that’s what it’s for – but we know from experience that general restrictions do not stop the import of varieties.”

The Labor Party supports the government’s proposal, but said it is too late, and Shadow Interior Minister Yvette Cooper tweeted: “Finally! But why on earth is this still only brought about almost TWO WEEKS AFTER Omicron was identified?”

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting wrote on Twitter: “Finally, Health Minister Labors accepts call for pre-departure tests, but why up to 48 hours before flight?”

In addition to testing for all international arrivals, Nigeria is added to the red travel list – joining several South African nations that were put on it after the Omicron variant was first discovered in the UK late last month.

This means that only British citizens and residents will be able to enter the country from Nigeria and they will have to pay to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days.

This change comes from at. 04.00 on Monday, where Mr Javid said Nigeria is “only second only to South Africa for cases linked to Omicron”.

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Streeting added that there are already “27 cases in England and it’s growing”.

Overall, there are now 160 confirmed cases of Omicron in the UK, where British scientists have suggested that it could have a “shorter incubation period” than other variants.

Javid acknowledged that the new measures are “hugely unfortunate” for people who already had travel plans, but insisted they would be “temporary”.

“We want to remove them as soon as we possibly can,” he added, saying “vaccines remain our first line of defense.”

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Over half of UK Omicron cases are double-jabbed

Travel rules are a matter for the decentralized administrations, but measures introduced by Downing Street are usually repeated elsewhere, and Scotland quickly announced the same test requirements.

The new travel rules come as Mr Javid has urged the public to get the booster vaccine before spending time with their loved ones this Christmas.

Sir. Javid said it was “absolutely crucial” that the public “top-up” their immunity before the holidays.

A total of 19.8 million people had received their third jab on December 4, while more than 51 million had received their first dose and nearly 46.5 million their second.

The National Board of Health and Welfare estimates that 20 million will have had the booster on 5 December.

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