Following the news about new coronavirus variants entering Britain from abroad, the UK government is putting into force a measure that insists everyone entering the UK must prove they have a negative COVID-19 test.
The test must have been taken within 72 hours of departure and airlines will not allow you to board without one. This applies to travel by train, plane and ferry from 4am January 18th, 2021.
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The reason for this new measure is to reduce the chances that coronavirus infections are brought in by incoming travellers.
As more and more countries are insisting on the same measure for many travellers, this means having to pay for a test to enter their holiday destination and then pay for another test while abroad to be able to return home. The cost is borne by the traveller.
A quirk of the scheme: if you are going away for two days, your negative COVID-19 certificate that was taken in the UK just before departure will still apply.
As well as the negative COVID-19 test, travellers entering the UK will need to quarantine for 10 days. However, those arriving in England can take another test after just five days and if that test proves negative they can be released from self-isolation.
This even applies to those who have previously contracted coronavirus and recovered and those who have had the vaccine. This is because no one knows for sure whether or not you can still act as a host even if you are not ill and therefore still be able to spread the virus.
Bear in mind that if you happen to test positive while abroad you will be expected to self-isolate in accordance with local laws at your own expense until you are well enough to travel.
A quirk of the scheme is that if you are only going away for two days, your negative COVID-19 certificate that was taken in the UK just before departure will still apply.