These pieces of advice will help travellers leaving the UK to curtail the spread of respiratory viruses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK Government has placed federal restrictions on travels in England to curb the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions are not the same as those in Scotland, New Ireland, or Wales. They have put a limitation to unnecessary travels and only allow for essential ones like those for work and education.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has released some set of guidelines for both the areas that are more prone to COVID-19 upsurge and those that are not. It also discourages every kind of travel except those for academics or work. Before travelling, check the guidelines for your destination from your local travel clinic by searching ‘private COVID test for travel near me.’
This disruption in travels may be worldwide as there are initiations of control measures like a restriction of movement, closure of borders, and quarantine rules within a limited period. As a traveller, we advise you to keep an eye on GOV.UK travel advice and the FCDO website for information since there is a tendency for changes to be made. Make different plans in case you are required to stay overseas longer than expected.
Some people are clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable. This means that they will develop severe illnesses if they contract the virus. These people should be very cautious about handwashing habit and maintaining a social distance. They should also check the recommended websites to see how they are required to live in England, Scotland, Wales, and North Ireland.
There are current pieces of evidence that the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups in the UK have a higher chance of contracting the virus. However, the reasons for this are not currently known.
Advice for travellers
Preparations before making international travels
When preparing for international travels, adhere to the following guidelines to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Update yourself with the latest official information about the disease in both your home country and the country you are travelling to. Find out if there are border closures and restriction of movement in the country. Also, know that all the countries can impose travel restrictions without a long pre-notice.
- When travelling from the UK, check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice to learn about the new border control measures in the UK.
- Find out about all the requirements which include entry restrictions, quarantine, and screening requirements on arrival that you may need to adhere to. If you need more information before travelling, you can contact the UK-based embassy of the country you are travelling to. Note that the screening and monitoring at the entry and exit points may be enhanced due to the disease. Some countries may even have their borders closed or ask you to self-isolate for a particular time, even if you do not have symptoms.
- Check your country information pages to the up-to-date information about the travel health recommendations. For every country, they are classified into low, moderate, or high-risk exposure to COVID-19 based on the information available. You can get this information from the Public Health England and National Travel Health Network and Centre. You can reach out to your GP, practice nurse, travel clinic or pharmacist about
private COVID test London.
- Find out about how COVID-19 impacts your travel insurance coverage, and medical repatriation cost in case you fall ill, or there is a new travel restriction. Note that if the country you are travelling may expect you to quarantine or self-isolate, you are bound to doing so. You may have your travel insurance compromised if your trip gets extended, or you travel against the advice of the UK government. The information issued by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on the travel insurance implications due to the outbreak. Plan for any possible delays during your return and include the financial impact while making your plans.
- Depending on the means of transportation you will be taking, contact the tour operator, airline, cruise line, anchor or any transport and accommodation providers for them to provide you with information on their travel plans and itinerary. The International Air Travel Association (IATA) and Cruise Line International Associations (CLIA) can provide you with useful resources for this information. The airline, bus or train station, and Cruise Line International Association can provide you with valuable resources for this information. Find out about the number of passengers they will have on board, and how they plan to enforce the physical distancing and other health measures in their vehicles to reduce the contact with other passengers who may be infected.
- If you are among the class of people considered to be clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable to the disease, know that if you are infected with COVID-19, you have a higher risk of developing severe infections.
- The use of face mask when using public transportation in the UK is now compulsory and may be so in other countries. Using a face mask properly does not replace the need for social distancing and regular washing of hands. If you must be safe, you must take all these precautions.
- When returning to the UK, ensure you read the guidelines on entering the UK to find out about all the required recommendations.
Pre-travel COVID-19 test
- Some countries may want you to present proof that you have recently had a COVID-19 test in your country, some also may wish for you to take one or more test upon your arrival. To find out about the required test in your country, you can check in with your travel clinic, or Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for foreign travel advice. Contacting the UK-based embassy in the country you are travelling to is also recommended when it comes to obtaining information.
- Note that the NHS test and Trace service is not accepted for international travel purposes.
- Suppose you must test before leaving the UK, know that you can only do that from private providers. Some of them include travel clinics, private GP services, and some private testing facilities. If your purpose for travel is work-based, ensure you discuss your options with your employer.
- Before arranging for a test, ensure you get all the required information from the country you are travelling to. This will include the specific tests you need to run and the considerable time that is required for your results to be valid. To do your tests and get paperwork issued to you from private clinics, some charges will be mandated. Some of their requirements include COVID-19 fitness to fly or COVID-19 free certificate.
- Before choosing a laboratory to carry out your test, ensure that it is accredited by the United Kingdom Accredited Service (UKAS).
- The frequently required test for international travel is a swab PCR test London. Some laboratories may give you a home test kit. This test is potent enough to pick up the genetic materials of the virus from the swab and detect if you have the COVID-19 infection at the moment the swab was done.
The quality of air onboard in the aeroplanes is now perfectly controlled. From time to time, they are being changed and passed through filters that are potent enough to remove the virus. Research has also proven that the risk of contracting an infectious disease while onboard in an aeroplane is little. According to the Research published by IATA in October 2020, only a minute number of cases (about 44) is associated with a flight journey. This number includes the probable, potential and confirmed cases, and during the time of this test, they were about 1.2 billion passengers travelling by air. However, to be sure of your protection while using an aeroplane, it is required that you wear a multi-layered face mask.
Consider the following advice
- Do not leave your house when you feel sick as you may infect others. If you still insist on going out know that you may be denied boarding if you have symptoms of COVID-19 during the exit screening
- You should also keep adequate hygiene measures and wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the designated toilet for the area of your aircraft.
- Do not move from your seat while in the aircraft unless it is absolutely essential. You can also do this if you want to exercise your legs and flex your ankles to encourage blood flow.
- If you suddenly become ill in the aircraft, stay in your seat and adhere to the instructions provided during the flight. Also, ensure you contact the aircrew as soon as possible.
General advice for curtailing the spread of respiratory diseases
- Always wash your hands within every 20 minutes with soap and running water. If there is a shortage of soap and water, use an alcohol-based sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol. This is a very vital step to take if you are using public transport or in a public space.
- Do not get in close contact with sick people
- Do not touch your eyes, mouth and nose with dirty hands.
- Don’t leave your house if you are not feeling too well. Do not travel, go to work or even leave your home.
- Avoid sneezing or coughing into the air. With a tissue, cover your mouth and discard it immediately in a bin and wash your hands after that with soap and water.
- Frequently disinfect and clean the object and surfaces you touch most of the times in your workplace or home.
- Self-isolate and arrange for a test if you have the following symptoms: high temperature, continuous cough, your usual sense of smell or taste changes (anosmia) or is completely lost. If you are overseas, seek local guidance.
What to do if you contact a COVID-19 case abroad
When abroad, if you get in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, follow the provided public health advice. Also, speak to your travel insurance company or healthcare provider as soon as possible for more guidance. If the authority demands you to quarantine or self-isolate, be prepared to do so in the country you are.
What to do if you fall sick abroad
If you become unwell while abroad or experience some symptoms like a continuous cough or a change or loss in the usual sense of taste or smell, or high temperature, then do the following:
- Do not go outside, and avoid contact with people
- Talk to your healthcare provider or travel insurance company on what they advise you to do. Remember if you have been in an area affected with malaria in the previous year, it is good you get a blood test to confirm it is not malaria you are suffering from.
- Find out the local public health guidance and follow it if available
- If the illness starts when you are at the bus, train station or airport, report to the medical team there and do not begin or continue your journey.
- While abroad, if you test positive for COVID-19, you have to follow the public health guidance to self-isolate. Be ready to self-isolate in the country you are currently in, so there may be a need for you to stay longer than planned. According to the Public Health England guidance, you must complete a 10-day self-isolation. These 10 days start from when your symptoms start.
- After recovering fully, let the health providers confirm you COVID-19 free and fit to travel. Until this is done, you should not travel.
After travel advice
As of June 8, 2020, there were new quarantine rules for those entering or returning to the UK. Every traveller has to give their contact details and details of that journey to the border health authorities when travelling.
Except for limited situations, everyone is required to isolate for 14 days. However, if the traveller’s destination is among the territories in the “travel corridor’ list, he will not have to self-isolate.
Those with the symptoms of COVID-19 will be demanded to self-isolate and get ready for a test.
Advice for health professionals
Many individuals have developed a fever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the case of every returning traveller, a person may have infections like plasmodium falciparum malaria. This disease can be life-threatening if it is not diagnosed and properly treated. For this reason, every individual has to be checked for COVID-19 and must be asked the last time they travelled abroad. If their travel duration was within the last 6 months in a malaria-prone area, they must run a blood test for malaria. The results are obtainable on the same day.