Big changes to holidays tomorrow – everything you need to know about Covid travel tests

FROM 4am tomorrow, travellers aged 12 and over coming into the UK will need to take a pre-departure Covid test.

The government announced the new rule at the weekend, as fears grow over the Omicron variant.

The move has enraged the ailing travel industry as holidaymakers face the added burden of hundreds of pounds for foreign trips.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Health Secretary Sajid Javid led a virtual COVID-O meeting after Omicron cases were found in forty countries.

The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) said a further 86 cases of Omicron had been confirmed in the UK on Sunday, 68 in England and 18 in Scotland, bringing the total to 246.

Ministers acted after early evidence suggested the gap between infection and being infectious is shorter than the Delta variant meaning cases can be caught sooner.

The decision will be reviewed on December 18 in line with other COVID measures, such as the wearing of face masks on public transport.

It effectively means travellers will have to take at least two tests within four days to comply with all COVID measures.

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When do I have to take a Covid test and how if I am fully vaccinated?

From 4am on Tuesday, anyone wishing to travel to England from countries and territories not on the red list must show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flowpre-departure test, taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure.

This applies to vaccinated passengers and children aged 12 and above.

You must also complete a Covid test within two days of arriving in England, which has to be booked before you travel, and complete a passenger locator form.

You must self-isolate until you get the result of your second Covid test.

When do I have to take a Covid test and how if I am not fully vaccinated?

You must take a Covid test in the two days before you travel to England.

You must also book Covid tests for day 2 and day 8 after you arrive in England, and complete a passenger locator form.

After arriving in England, you must then self-isolate for ten full days.

If you receive your day 8 negative test result back on day 12, you must quarantine until the end of day 12.

Are there different rules for children?

Children aged 4 and under do not have to take any COVID-19 travel tests.

From 4am tomorrow, children aged 12 to 17 must take a PCR or lateral flow test within the 2 days before travel to England.

Children aged 5 to 17 also have to follow the testing and quarantine rules for people who qualify as fully vaccinated on arrival in England.

This means that they have to quarantine on arrival and take a PCR test on or before day 2.

What if I am travelling from a red list country?

There are different rules for anyone travelling from a red list country – if this is the case, you have to book yourself into a quarantine hotel before travel.

This morning, Nigeria joined Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Namibia on the red list.

Anyone returning from one of these countries has to prebook a stay at a government-mandated hotel, quarantining for 10 days which costs £2,285 per person.

An additional person pays £1,430, while kids cost £325.

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