After the emergence of the Omicron variant earlier this week, the UK government took precautionary measures in order to find out more about the spread of the variant. This included the resumption of day-2 PCR tests for all travellers entering the UK.
Though the use of day-2 PCR tests was only swapped for lateral flow tests on October 24th, we have seen a lot of concern among travel consumers surrounding this change. This along with the presence of the variant itself, which is currently in an uncertain stage as health organisations are studying how it may affect those in different stages of vaccination, and there is a lot of panic surrounding travelling that can be addressed.
It’s understandable the reaction consumers are having, even some in the industry are concerned over what may happen. However, the reintroduction of PCR tests and self-isolation for UK arrivals is, currently, only a precautionary measure in place to help us figure out what to do in response.
Speculation can also create a lot of concerns. If you’re looking to book a holiday for 2022 or you’ve already booked a holiday and you’re worried about PCR testing and isolation, don’t panic.
If you’ve booked with a good travel agent, pick up the phone and ask what can happen next. A lot of travel businesses now have measures in place for Covid-related situations like this so you can reschedule your holiday or get a refund if you prefer to do so.
In saying this, cancelling holidays for 2022 and destinations still open to travellers in the coming months isn’t your only option. Your holiday can still go ahead with the new day-2 PCR and isolation measure in place.
What To Do When You Arrive in the UK
Having to self-isolate until you get your negative result can seem daunting. You’ve arrived home and you have things to do, or you just want to be out of the house, whatever the reason, having to stay home may seem like a hassle. However, you don’t have to be isolating for long.
Though we often refer to this PCR test as the day-2 test, this doesn’t mean you have to do the test on day-2. You only need to take the test before the end of day-2.
Essentially, this means that you can book your day-2 PCR test and take it as soon as you get off the plane. Many airports will offer PCR tests that you can take before you return home, and PCR test results can be returned to you in 24 hours. This means that if you get your test done right away, you’ll only need to self-isolate at home for a single day after you return home.
If there are delays in getting your result back you may need to isolate a little longer, but you will most likely not need to self-isolate until or beyond day-2 if you do your test soon after your flight gets in.
For example: your flight lands in the UK at 8 am on a Monday, this is day 0. You’ve booked your PCR test in at the airport and do it as soon as you get off the plane, then you need to return home and self-isolate. 10 am, Tuesday morning you get your negative result, and your self-isolation is over.
We do recommend you also check the Foreign Travel Advice page to ensure the requirements for your destination are what you expect before you go on holiday. Or check with your travel agent if you’re uncertain. Some destinations are changing their restrictions in response as well.
Don’t Panic, Talk To An Expert
The recent developments and changes may be concerning and uncertain for a lot of travellers, but it is important not to panic. Some consumers are trying to change bookings made for 2022 before the 3-week review comes later in December, but this isn’t necessary.
If you have already got a holiday booked and you’re worried about the returned day-2 PCR tests, talk to your travel agent and trusted PTS member. They are an expert, and whether it’s their policies, destination news, or something else that they can help you with, they’ll be able to guide you through your options and diminish your concerns.
You don’t have to give up a great holiday because of the renewed restrictions, and if you’ve booked with a lovely PTS member, they can help you have a stress-free experience in this uncertain time. So don’t forget to get in contact with a travel business registered with PTS offering 100% financial protection through trust when you’re ready to go on holiday. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing a lovely PTS member to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988.
And, if you’d like to learn more about your consumer protection with PTS or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages.