The Covid travel restrictions are constantly changing and even though they are not as strict as before, there are still some rules in place. Many travellers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, are unclear about where they can travel, whether they need tests or specific documentation, and if there are different rules for adults and children. This article will clear up all of those questions for you. Here are 5 things you need to know about Covid before travelling.
Rules about testing are different everywhere, but you won’t need a test of any kind to travel to the UK. Depending on the country that you are travelling to, you may still need to take a test on the way out, but you no longer need one on the return journey.
There is often confusion about these rules because people assume that you need vaccinations in order to enter the country without a test. That is the case in some places but not the UK. Everybody, regardless of their vaccination status, can come into the UK without testing or filling out passenger locator forms.
Having travel vaccines can make it easier to gain entry to certain countries but that does not mean that unvaccinated people cannot travel. In fact, there are a lot of countries that accept unvaccinated travellers and the list is growing as restrictions are rolled back around the world. You can find a full list of the countries that accept unvaccinated travellers online (there are 73 at the time of writing).
Bear in mind that many places will still have some restrictions so you need to check the specific travel guidelines of the country you wish to visit. In most cases, you will need to take a test and give proof of a negative result before you travel. If you have recently had Covid and recovered from it, you may also be able to show a Covid recovery certificate in place of a vaccine.
If you are required to take a test, be aware that different countries accept different types of test results. In some countries, you will be required to take a PCR test, while others will accept a rapid antigen test instead. There are also differences in who must administer the test. Some countries insist that it must be administered by a professional while others will accept at-home kits like the Covid at home day 2 and day 8 testing kit, for example. Certain countries will accept either a PCR test or a lateral flow test. It’s best to go for a lateral flow as they are more affordable and the results come back sooner.
If you have recently had Covid, there is a danger that you could test positive even though you have recovered. It has been known for people to continue giving false positives for months after recovery. In this case, a lateral flow test is the best option because they are less likely to give false positives.
When you are booking your tests before travelling, make sure that you go with a licensed Covid testing provider that will give you the correct paperwork. Check the entry requirements carefully too so you definitely get the right type of test and you know whether you can administer it yourself or not.
Some countries will ask for a ‘fit to fly’ certificate in place of a negative test result if you have recently recovered from Covid. The reason for this is that you can still test positive for weeks or months after all of the symptoms have gone. So, if you take a test before travelling, you may be denied entry to the country, even though you are perfectly healthy. To avoid this, you can use a fit to fly certificate, also known as a Covid recovery certificate, instead.
You cannot get this paperwork from your GP or the NHS, you will have to go through a private company instead. If you have recovered from Covid in the last 6 months and you can provide evidence of a positive test, you can apply for a certificate. A registered doctor will then assess the result and look at your answers to some basic questions before signing off on the certificate. This can then be used instead of a negative test result or vaccine to show that you have natural immunity to Covid.
This whole process can be completed online with the Travel Health Clinic. It’s a quick and simple 5 minute application process and you will get your certificate issued within 24 hours by email. This is one of the most convenient options for covid-19 travel available right now.
In many places, the Covid travel rules are different for children. This is also true of domestic restrictions. For example, a lot of countries do not require children under the age of 18 to have vaccines before travelling, even if they require adults to have them. They may not need to take a Covid test either. However, just like all of the other restrictions, rules about children vary from place to place. Before travelling, it is always important to check rules for adults and children so you fully understand any differences between them.
When you arrive in the country, the restrictions about mask-wearing may be different for younger people and children under a certain age could be exempt, even if adults are required to wear masks.
Covid-19 travel can be daunting because there are still many restrictions in place and they are changing rapidly. However, as long as you research the specific rules ahead of time and know exactly what you need to do, you will be fine. At the Travel Health Clinic, we can answer any questions you have and supplyCcovid tests or recovery certificates where needed. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need some help!