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New Omicron Covid travel rules come into force – what they mean for you

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Just a week after the return of the Red List, new travel restrictions impacting everyone coming to the UK have been put into action.

The news comes as a blow to families with travel plans to see loved ones from abroad over the Christmas period.

It shows worrying signs for further restrictions in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the government continues a significant push to get boosters to as much of the country as possible.

They aim to jab 500,000 people a day and have offered all adults their third vaccine by the end of January.

Masks have already been reintroduced on all public transport and in shops.

Contacts of the Omicron variant have to isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status.

At the time of writing, over 330 people have been confirmed to have the new Omicron variant in the UK, with it looking likely many of these people caught it from within the UK, rather than through travel abroad.

When do the UK's new Covid travel rules come into force?

New Covid travel restriction were implemented in the UK at 4am on December 7 2021.

Their introduction is designed to buy time against the new Omicron variant, as scientists scramble to understand the strain.

Concerns remain that Omicron could be more resistant to the vaccine and that there could be a shorter time between catching it and becoming infectious to other people.

The Health secretary, Sajid Javid, said in a Tweet: "In light of the most recent data we are taking further action to slow the incursion of the omicron variant.

“Vaccines remain our first line of defence – the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

“Please get vaccinated or #GetBoosted as soon as you can.”

2 new Omicron travel rules and what they mean for you when flying out of or into the UK

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Read on to find out the latest changes to UK laws surrounding travel.

All arrivals to the UK must take a pre-departure test

All arrivals into the UK aged 12 and over will now have to show a negative PCR or lateral flow test when entering the UK.

This applies to all arrivals including those who have been vaccinated.

The test must be taken no more than 48 hours before travellers set of for the UK and cannot be completed with NHS tests – they must therefore be sourced through private providers.

If you test positive for the virus before your journey you will not be allowed to travel to the UK.

Upon arrival all travellers must isolate until they have returned a negative day two PCR test.

If they fail to do so, i.e. they test positive, they will need to isolate for the full ten days.

The new restrictions do not apply to people aged 12 and under or those arriving from Ireland and Ethiopia.

Red list extended

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As of the December 6, Nigeria has been added to the Red List, meaning arrivals will need to quarantine at a managed hotel for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status.

Arrival will also only be available for citizens and residents of the UK.

The Red List at the time of writing is as follows:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • NHS
  • Christmas
  • Travel Advice
  • Coronavirus

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