Travel: Simon Calder discusses taking PCR tests
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The UK’s holiday testing restrictions have shattered passenger confidence in travel, according to a leading travel expert. Now one of the few European countries to require double-vaccinated passengers to provide negative Covid tests, the UK’s rules are “out of step” with the rest of the world.
Double-vaccinated passengers are required to take a pre-departure test before arriving in the UK from a green or amber list country.
Once in the UK, they have to take a PCR test on or before day two after arrival.
Double-jabbed passengers do not have to isolate after arriving from green or amber list countries.
All passengers arriving from red list countries are required to quarantine in a Government hotel.
The UK’s rules are stricter than those across much of Europe where double-vaccinated travellers do not have to provide negative test results.
Portugal, Spain, Greece, France and Germany are among the countries that do not require negative test results from double-vaccinated passengers.
The UK’s requirement for day two PCR tests has raised the price of holidays as each passenger must purchase their own tests.
Passenger confidence has been “shattered” as travellers are put off by the UK’s restrictions.
The UK’s “out of step” travel restrictions may have caused holiday bookings in the UK to fall behind Europe.
While holiday bookings around Europe are now at 60 percent of pre-Covid levels, the UK is still only at 30 percent of pre-Covid booking levels.
Although the UK started its vaccination programme ahead of much of Europe, vaccination levels across Europe are now comparable to the UK as other countries have started to catch up.
Travel experts have now called for the negative test requirement to be dropped for double-vaccinated passengers.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, said: “The time has come for testing to be removed altogether for travellers who have been double jabbed.
“Our continued travel restrictions are out of step with much of Europe and continue to have a real impact on jobs and livelihoods, business and growth opportunities while also keeping friends and family apart.”
Wingate argued that other countries have already removed testing requirements for double-vaccinated passengers.
He said: “Passenger confidence in the UK has been shattered.”
Gatwick has recommended that all passengers who are not double-vaccinated should take a day two lateral flow test when returning from an amber destination.
If the passenger tested positive, they would then be required to take a PCR test.
Double-jabbed passengers arriving from amber destinations would not be required to take tests.
Countries currently on the amber list include Greece, Spain, France and Portugal.
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