About ten months into the pandemic, where the United Kingdom determined that it would continue to stay open to air travel from around the world, things are finally going to take a turn towards more caution.
England will institute a requirement for all international arrivals to have a negative CoVid-19 test to enter the country from January 15, 2021, 04:00 hours onwards. The aviation industry has requested this requirement since the start of the pandemic. However, England has been using other measures such as 14-day quarantine on arrival. This requirement would be applicable of all arrivals into any airport, be it for British Citizens or other nationalities, and the test would have to be taken no more than 72 hours before scheduled departure, at the passengers’ expense. Other countries, a part of the UK, such as Scotland, will reportedly implement such measures soon.
Countries with a travel corridor with the UK will still have to present a negative report on an RT-PCR CoVid-19 test, which will be inspected before boarding the flight to the UK. Those who arrive but are not on the travel corridor list will need to continue to quarantine for up to 10 days. The passenger release form is still going to be required as a track-n-trace measure. Anyone failing to produce a negative test report will be hit with an immediate fine of GBP 500.
Passengers travelling to England from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey, which is the Common Travel Area, will not fall within the scope of these new rules.
The transport secretary of the UK, Grant Shapps said to this effect,
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.
Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.
A government release to this effect is scheduled to appear on Friday, January 8, 2021, enlisting the measures in detail. Not just that, this testing requirement will be applicable for all arrivals in the UK, from land, sea or air.
While this is too little too late, it is finally the start of harmonised measures in the UK of international travel requirements. Remember, during the UK’s national lockdown, one cannot travel outside the country without a strong reason, and everyone is supposed to stay at home, but arrivals into the UK continue.
What do you make of the new measures instituted in the UK that require the presence of a negative CoVid-19 RT-PCR report?
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