Hong Kong and Ecuador are the two most recent travel destinations to have tightened their entry requirements in light of the worrying new omicron variant.
In response to the new variant, stricter border controls and stricter quarantine rules will be introduced worldwide.
Hong Kong prohibits foreigners from Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia, as well as all travelers who have visited Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel and Italy in the past 21 days.
Meanwhile, Ecuador has closed its borders to arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Namibia.
This follows on from Hong Kong banning entries from eight South African countries last week.
Starting today, the UK government is calling for PCR testing for travel just weeks after cheaper antigen (or lateral flow) testing was approved.
PCR testing is critical to genome sequencing, the process required to identify the variant virus that is causing each infection.
Follow the latest travel news below:
EasyJet sees a drop in bookings amid Omicron fears
According to its managing director, EasyJet has recorded a decline in bookings given the omicron variant.
Johan Lundgren told the BBC that there had been a “slowdown” in short-term bookings due to news of the new variant, adding that some customers are rebooking for the next year rather than canceling immediately.
But he said it was too early to predict how Omicron might affect travel over the next year, and said, “We need to see how things settle down.”
Lucy ThackrayNovember 30, 2021 3:51 PM
Ireland is rolling out tests for travelers from Friday
Ireland is introducing new testing measures for newcomers starting Friday 3rd December.
Travelers entering Ireland must have an antigen or PCR test prior to departure 72 or 48 hours prior to arrival and show a negative result.
The antigen option is only available to fully vaccinated visitors, while PCR is required for those who have not been double vaccinated.
Helen CoffeyNovember 30, 2021 3:31 PM
Singapore tightens entry restrictions
Singapore is tightening entry restrictions and improving testing protocols for travelers arriving after 11:59 p.m. on December 2nd.
All air travelers entering or passing through Singapore must undergo a pre-flight test within two days of their departure from Singapore. Vaccinated Britons are also required to undergo supervised self-administered ART tests in a rapid testing center on the third and seventh days of their stay in Singapore.
Travelers who arrived between November 12th and 27th and have traveled to countries or regions affected by the Omikron in the past 14 days must undergo a one-time “surveillance” PCR test.
These measures will run for another four weeks and will be reviewed and expanded if necessary.
Helen CoffeyNovember 30, 2021 3:00 p.m.
What PCR tests are there and how much do they cost?
The sooner you want to get out of quarantine, the more you will likely pay for a Day 2 PCR test when entering the UK.
Tests at airports and other traffic locations are among the most expensive. Collinson offers post-arrival testing for £ 69 at Heathrow, Gatwick, East Midlands, London City, Manchester and Stansted airports – as well as at the O2 in East London. Many airlines can offer discount codes – for example BA20OFF – that grant a discount of 20 percent.
Incoming travelers who are not in a hurry can save a lot by opting for a 24- or 48-hour turnaround time and / or self-administered tests.
Randox has a £ 48 home kit (again discountable with a code like Easyjet2021) and says, “For samples returned via a standard throw-in box, we want to deliver results by 11:59 pm the next day.”
Read our full traveler test rules guide here:
Simon CalderNovember 30, 2021 2:38 pm
Scotland has a higher age rating for travel testing than other three UK nations
In Scotland, children under the age of 11 are not required to take a PCR test when entering the country – in the other three UK countries, the exception only applies to those under the age of five.
The first ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, called for stricter travel rules with eight days of mandatory self-isolation for all UK travelers and a PCR test at the end.
Ms. Sturgeon said, “We believe this would be more effective in detecting variants.”
If adopted, the plan would extend the minimum quarantine period from a few hours to eight days. But Downing Street turned it down.
Simon CalderNovember 30, 2021 2:30 p.m.
Tourists who travel through Switzerland in less than 24 hours do not need a quarantine
The Federal Foreign Office has updated its guidelines for traveling to Switzerland to clarify the quarantine rules for passengers traveling on to another country.
“For travelers who enter Switzerland from Great Britain and want to travel on to another country, there is no quarantine obligation as long as the journey through Switzerland takes less than 24 hours and does not include a stopover,” says the update on the Page with the Swiss entry regulations of FCDO.
There has been confusion as to whether quarantine is required for those flying to Switzerland and traveling to other countries by land.
Lucy ThackrayNovember 30, 2021 12:22 PM
Ski organizer suspends trips to Switzerland
Ingham’s ski experts canceled all December trips to Switzerland after the country decided to impose a mandatory 10-day quarantine on all UK visitors.
“After the news that Switzerland has imposed a 10-day quarantine on all British arrivals, we unfortunately suspended all departures to Switzerland in December 2021,” said CEO Joe Ponte in a statement.
“Customers affected by this message will be given the option to postpone their booking free of charge or cancel their booking with a full refund.
“We are extremely disappointed for all of our customers who have been looking forward to a skiing holiday in Switzerland next month. Around 6% of the holidays in our winter program are in Switzerland and the number of bookings for the coming ski season is strong. He stressed that Inghams Travel is still flexible to handle changes in travel rules, including the ability to change your dates or travel destination up to 28 days before departure.
Lucy ThackrayNovember 30, 2021 11:54 am
Hong Kong, India and Ecuador have recently tightened entry requirements
Hong Kong, India and Ecuador have announced stricter travel restrictions in response to the rapidly spreading variant of the Omicron coronavirus.
Hong Kong has extended its travel ban on non-residents, excluding travelers who have visited Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Canada, Israel and Australia in the past 21 days from entering Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia.
Vaccinated residents are allowed to enter the city but must be quarantined in a state facility for seven days before being isolated in a hotel for another two weeks at their own expense – a total of 21 days.
India is also introducing stricter guidelines for international travelers, according to the Directorate-General for Civil Aviation; while Ecuador requires all comers to provide proof of full vaccination, a negative Covid test, and ban visitors from six southern African countries.
Helen CoffeyNovember 30, 2021 10:54 am
What are the new rules for travel tests starting today?
In a statement last Thursday, the ministries of health and transport said: “After 4:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 30, 2021, lateral flow tests will no longer be accepted.”
PCR tests are more expensive and slower to process, but allow positive tests to be sequenced to determine if the Omicron variant is involved.
The other big change this week is that double-stab travelers will have to self-isolate upon arrival until their “day two” test is negative – previously, fully vaccinated comers could take the test and go about their business until a result is received.
If your results are delayed, you need to stay in isolation until confirmed, government guidelines say.
The rule change has led to confusion and further costs for travelers who had already ordered lateral flow tests around the trip this week and now have to switch their orders to a PCR.
Lucy ThackrayNovember 30, 2021 10:18 am
The travel ban for South Africa is “cops ***”, says the host of the Daily Show
US Daily show Host Trevor Noah has commented on the travel bans of several countries against South Africa and other South African nations and described the decision as a “bullsh ***”.
On last night’s show, South African Noah said, “I think this travel ban is total nonsense, I really do …
“Omicron has already been found in a dozen countries around the world. To the right?
“We don’t know where it started, we don’t know how long it has been around – it’s everywhere from Hong Kong to Israel to Spain, so why don’t you ban travel from all of those countries too?
“Only the African countries?”
The USA, the UK and the entire EU, among others, have blocked all entries from South Africa and its neighbors when details of the Omicron variant become known.
Yesterday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was “disappointed” with the travel bans imposed on the country and urged leaders to lift them.
Watch the full clip here:
Lucy ThackrayNovember 30, 2021 9:43 AM