GREEN TO GO
On Monday 17 May the UK government introduced a traffic light system to allow for the resumption of non-essential travel and overnight stays away from your own residence within England.
In this blog we highlight some of the current challenges associated with travelling overseas and seek to demystify the Covid related requirements.
TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM
With travel now permitted all overseas locations are now categorised as Red, Amber or Green. The current details of the traffic light scheme for travellers from England are detailed below.
|Status||PCR Test Within 72 Hours of Departure from UK||Self-Isolate or Quarantine on Return||PCR Test on Day 2 After Return||PCR Test on Day 8 After Return||Test to Release on Day 5|
|Amber||Yes||Self-Isolate for 10 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Red||Yes||Quarantine Hotel for 10 Days||Yes||Yes||No|
In addition to the PCR tests detailed above, a Test to Return test will be required within 72 hours of the return flight to the UK. This test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml and can include:
- A nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
- An antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device
It should be noted that the traffic light system is a legal requirement and that there may be variances in the devolved nations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The government has committed to reviewing the status of overseas destinations every 3 weeks with first updates due to be announced by 7 June.
PASSENGER LOCATOR FORMS
Although the Declaration Form for Overseas Travel is no longer required, those traveling to, or returning to, the UK do still need to complete a Passenger Locator Form.
You can submit the form any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. You will need to show your form when you check in to travel or board your plane, train or ferry to the UK.
For regular travellers it is possible set up an account to manage multiple trips and to reduce the time it takes to complete the form in the future.
COVID REQUIREMENTS OF DESTINATION
Whilst the traffic light system is relevant to the UK, travellers do also need to consider the requirements of the destination that they are visiting.
The team here at Meon will provide advice at the time of booking but it is then individual travellers responsibility to check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice as requirements can frequently change in response to the situation in the destination being visited.
SUPPORT FROM THE MEON TEAM
In addition to checking the latest FCDO advice, the team here at Meon is using a system developed by IATA called TimaticWeb2. This is the same system being used by the airlines and as such should ensure parity between the advice we provide, and the checks then being made by an airline.
AIRLINES, HOTELS, ETC
In addition to regulatory requirements outlined above, many suppliers are now providing additional guidance, advice and support. A good example of this is BA’s Covid-19 Travel Hub where they cover everything from the airport experience and traveller FAQ’s through to the current ticket rules being offered.
Certain suppliers may be taking additional precautions above and beyond local regulatory. We therefore recommend that all travellers check any relevant suppliers’ websites in advance of travel to familiarise themselves accordingly.
The PCR tests for travel will only be available from government approved providers and travellers will not be able to obtain a PCR test via the NHS.
The prices for these tests are still a little uncertain however, Meon Valley Travel has negotiated preferential rates with Randox Health:
Single PCR test
£43.00 with code Advantage43
Green PCR Travel Pack
(1 pre-departure PCR Test, 1 Day 2 PCR Test with NGS) – £86.00 using code ADVANTAGEGREEN
Amber PCR Travel Pack
(1 pre-departure PCR Test, 1 Day 2 PCR Test with NGS and 1 Day 8 PCR Test) – £129.00 using code ADVANTAGEAMBER
Test To Return
Whilst a traveller is overseas they will need a Test to Return test prior to returning back to the UK, whilst many hotels and local clinics are offering this service, we have simplified the process with qured.com.
£39 for a Test to Return – Take a test no earlier than 72 hours before starting your return journey. Use this 20-minute rapid test, overseen on video call by a Health Advisor, so you won’t have to source a test abroad.
AN EVOLVING SITUATION
In the coming weeks, we expect to see further developments in respect of the traffic light status, testing and associated costs and overseas requirements. As the situation continues to develop we are committed to supporting our customers and will provide further updates as and when required.