Travellers heading to the United Kingdom will now need to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry, in addition to testing after arriving in the country, as the omicron variant continues to surface around the world. By
All International Travellers to Submit a Negative COVID-19 Test
All international travellers aged 12 and over must take a PCR or lateral flow test COVID-19 test two days prior to arrival, the UK’s latest guidance says. Travellers heading to the UK will also have to take a COVID-19 PCR test by the second day of their trip — a protocol that went into effect November 30. Visitors are required to pay for the second test and then isolate until there is a negative result.
Children between five and 17 years old will also have to book a PCR test to take by Day 2, while children under five are exempt from all testing, according to the government.
The lateral flow test will not be accepted as the second test, only a PCR test fits the requirement.
The new measures will be reviewed in three weeks.
The decision was made in light of the new COVID-19 variant, which has spread quickly around the world, including in the UK. Like much of the world, the UK took steps to restrict travel from southern Africa, placing 10 countries on its red travel list.
Beyond travel restrictions, the UK implemented a mandatory mask policy in shops and places like hair salons, as well as on public transport, and will require anyone who comes into contact with a suspected omicron case to self-isolate, regardless of their age or vaccination status.
Several other European countries have updated their restrictions in the wake of the omicron variant. France will now require all visitors from outside the European Union to provide proof of a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of their planned arrival in addition to proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. Germany has also implemented a lockdown for unvaccinated citizens last week according to The Associated Press while Austria has implemented a full lockdown.
As for the United States, vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are required to take a pre-arrival test 24 hours before entry.
Related: France Implements New COVID-19 Test Policy For All Foreign Travellers Due To Omicron Variant