A top testing expert warns that many top tourist destinations still apply strict Covid entry regulations. Moreover, travellers are still developing severe symptoms that result in ruined holidays and potentially hefty foreign medical bills.
Covid cases are falling in the UK, and even famously strict New Zealand has fully reopened its borders after imposing stringent controls in March 2020. However, a leading testing expert says the latest Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are the most contagious yet and remain a significant threat to our health and our foreign holiday plans this summer.
The leading testing expert, Dr Quinton Fivelman PhD, chief scientific officer at London Medical Laboratory, says: ‘Here in the UK, Covid cases and hospital admissions are finally falling. The latest Government figures for 29th July showed a drop of half a million compared to the previous week.’
‘However, before we all start partying like 2019, it’s important to remember that 3.2 million Brits and one in every 20 people in England still have the virus.’
‘While many cases of the latest Omicron variants cause less severe illness than earlier versions, it can still be a serious virus. This is because Covid may remain active in our bodies, in areas such as the gut, for extended periods. This could well be the cause of long Covid.’
‘For this reason, at the beginning of June, London Medical Laboratory urgently called for the Government to consider vaccinating everyone over 50 this autumn. We are delighted it has now agreed to do this.’
‘However, the Government, whoever is in charge of it by then, must also ensure that the new top-up jab covers the latest Omicron variants rather than using older vaccines that do little to halt the spread of the virus.’
Covid is also on the decline in most countries worldwide, but it remains a threat, so it’s best to take a test before flying. In addition, some countries retain stringent Covid quarantine measures that will be enforced for anyone developing symptoms after arrival.
Post-Brexit, travellers to Europe should also ensure they apply for a UK Global Health Insurance card or that their existing European Health Insurance Card is still valid, or they could face expensive medical treatment and a ruined holiday. Likewise, visitors to non-EU countries should ensure their travel insurance gives good medical cover.
Though many countries have dropped all Covid entry regulations, some of our favourite holiday destinations have strict rules that tourists need to know before travelling. Here are some popular destinations with rigorous entry requirements.
If travelling to Spain, Brits must show valid proof they are fully vaccinated or produce a negative Covid-19 test: either a PCR taken 72 hours before departure or an antigen test taken 24 hours before departure.
Fully vaccinated travellers must take a viral test within three to five days of arrival. After that, most non-vaccinated travellers won’t be allowed entry into the US. However, if someone is not fully vaccinated, they may be allowed to fly to the United States under one of its few exceptions.
However, they will be required to get tested for current infection three-five days after arrival unless they have documented having recovered from Covid in the past 90 days or choose to self-quarantine for a full five days.
Fully-jabbed UK nationals who can provide proof of vaccination, which includes the UK Covid pass, are allowed to enter the Netherlands. Unvaccinated adults can only enter if they meet the Dutch Government’s strict exemptions. For example, UK residents are permitted to enter if they are married to an EU national or attending the funeral of a close family member.
We may be celebrating the final relaxation of restrictions for holidaymakers to New Zealand, famously some of the strictest in the world, but they have not entirely vanished. Adults must be fully vaccinated to enter the country. At the airport, eligible travellers entering New Zealand will be given a pack of rapid antigen tests (RATs). Visitors must take a RAT the day they arrive and on day five or six.
Unvaccinated visitors will need to upload a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR report. The test must be taken within three days of travel. Before travel, all visitors should also submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal.
Covid still possesses the power to disrupt our lives at home and abroad. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) research shows that antibody levels have consistently fallen since mid-April, though still relatively high.
This closely mirrors our own lab’s findings. Suppose anyone is concerned about their immune response to the jabs and how well they continue to produce antibodies. In that case, the new generation blood tests available from London Medical Laboratory are highly accurate, quick and straightforward to carry out, either at home through the post or at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer this test across London and the southeast.
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