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Travellers holidaying in the run up to Christmas warned to be PCR aware

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GoCompare Travel Insurance is warning those going for a winter break to keep abreast of the daily changes to travel restrictions and requirements so they don’t jeopardise their Christmas plans.

With the emergence of the omicron Covid 19 variant, the UK government has announced new travel restrictions, added new countries to the red list, as well as stipulating that fully vaccinated travellers now have to self-isolate while waiting for their day two PCR test.

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Those who are unvaccinated also have to comply with the by day two PCR test, as well as another PCR test on day eight – and self-isolate for 10 days. Tests cannot be NHS tests – they have to be private ones.

This means that those who are going on week or a fortnight’s break in the coming weeks, might find themselves having to self-isolate over Christmas – if they don’t plan ahead and don’t get the results back in time.

GoCompare travel insurance is reminding travellers that they don’t have to have that test on day two, but they have to test by the end of day two after returning from their holiday. They can in fact test on day zero, which is the day they return from their trip – with some private PCR providers turning results around as quickly as four hours.

But GoCompare travel is also warning holiday makers to keep a close eye on the news, as there is growing pressure on the UK government to make travellers self-isolate until they get a negative PCR test on day eight after returning from a trip. 

Richard Jones, from GoCompare Travel Insurance, said: “Now more than ever, anyone that is travelling in the coming weeks needs to keep a close eye on what is required before heading to the airport or port, as well as any changing requirements for re-entry into the UK.

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“Other countries around Europe are also changing their pre-entry travel requirement, with some such as Switzerland now insisting on 10 days of quarantine on arrival – which will affect ski holidays. While those looking for a bit of winter sun in Spain, might find themselves stranded at the airport if they aren’t fully jabbed, as Spain has banned all non-vaccinated arrivals.”

Richard explained: “These restrictions are changing by the day and the onus is on the holidaymaker to ensure that the forms are filled in, the tests are booked and that they have the proof to travel.

“If you are arriving home close to Christmas, book your PCR test now to ensure you get the results back in time – there is a list of approved private providers https://www.gov.uk/find-travel-test-provider – and ensure that you keep a close eye on the news just in case any of the test requirements change for the UK, as well as those to the country you are travelling to.”

Holidaymakers who booked with a package holiday company are afforded some extra protection as some companies are offering flexible changes to bookings, a refund guarantee, as well as extra protection if your destination moves onto the red list.

When it comes to travel insurance, Richard added: “Now more than ever, checking the terms and conditions of your travel insurance is crucial – with new lockdowns and travel restrictions being announced daily and the potential for new countries to be added to the red list, holidaymakers should ensure they are covered for all eventualities.

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“The majority of travel insurance providers cover you for repatriation and medical expenses and if you fall ill with Covid 19, but coronavirus cover does vary between insurers – with some companies now providing enhanced Covid cover so it’s important that you check the cover you have and the cover you think you need. More information about this can be found here: https://www.gocompare.com/travel-insurance/guide/coronavirus/.”        

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