Travellers who are unable to present a negative test result prior to departure may be unable to board and face a fine of £500. Photo: Shutterstock
All passengers, travelling to the UK from abroad by boat, plane or train will be required to present a negative covid-19 test result that is no older than 72 hours, prior to departure, starting next week.
In a bid to control the coronavirus and prevent the spread of the new variation of covid-19 first discovered in England, UK prime minister Boris Johnson earlier this week announced that the country would be returning to a national lockdown as of 6 January.
In alignment with the stricter national measures, it was announced on Friday that travellers wanting to enter the UK would also face additional restrictions, in the form of a mandatory negative pre-departure test result.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps explained that the new requirement is supposed to prevent passengers from travelling whilst infectious, providing an additional layer of safety on top of the mandatory 10-day quarantine already in place for arrivals. "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," Shapps said.
Hauliers, children under the age of 11, those travelling from countries without the infrastructure to deliver tests as well as arrivals from the common travel area with Ireland will be exempt from the new rules.
In addition to the pre-departure test result, passengers will also still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and, upon arrival, will have to comply with the national lockdown restrictions currently in place in the UK.
Travellers arriving from destinations that are not on the the government’s travel corridor list, will then also have to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their pre-departure test result.
Those not adhering to the new travel regulations can face an immediate fine of £500 and passengers who are unable to provide proof of a negative result may be denied boarding.
On 24 December, the UK had already issued a temporary travel ban for passengers travelling from a number of South African countries, amid fears of an outbreak of a variant strain of coronavirus spreading to the country.
Reversely, much of Europe--including Luxembourg--had blocked travel to and from the UK after a more contagious variant of the virus was discovered there. Travel to the airport in Findel resumed on 24 December. The mutation of the coronavirus has since been detected in Luxembourg.
On Wednesday, the UK reported 62,322 new infections up from 60,916 the previous day, the highest daily increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Moreover, on Thursday, the second highest number of fatalities was recorded with 1,162 people who did not survive a coronavirus infection, only topped by 1,224 fatalities on 21 April.