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Londoners who are jetting off for a Christmas vacation will need to check the latest travel rules for their holiday destination as the Omicron variant has now been found in almost 40 countries across the globe.
The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed on Friday (December 3) that the new variant has now been detected in 38 countries, and could be more contagious than the Delta variant.
Scientists still do not know much about the mutated strain, but no deaths have yet been reported as a result of its infections.
The UK has some of the highest Omicron cases in Europe, totalling to 246 confirmed cases as of Sunday, 5 December.
While scientists are still battling to find out just how transmissible the new variant is, countries already suffering from the impact of the Delta variant have imposed new travel restrictions and lockdown measures in a bid to stop it spreading further.
In a series of tweets, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid said new rules for anyone travelling into the UK to “slow the incursion” of the Covid variant will come into force this week.
He wrote: “From 4am Monday, only UK/Irish citizens & residents travelling from Nigeria will be allowed entry and must isolate in a managed quarantine facility.
“And – from 4am Tuesday, anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the Red List will be required to take a pre-departure test, regardless of their vaccination status.”
So what does this mean for holidaymakers travelling to Europe for a quick getaway this month?
Here’s all the latest travel rules Brits heading off to European holiday destinations will need to follow.
Holidaymakers must complete an online passenger locator card and show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result from either a PCR test 72 hours before flying or a rapid antigen test 48 hours before flying.
New rules came into force on December 1 requiring vaccinated passengers to also provide a negative Covid test result on arrival.
Tourists must wear a mask in enclosed spaces, and proof of vaccination or a negative test when entering indoor restaurants, tourist establishments and local accommodation, seated events and gyms – as well as bars and clubs and health facilities.
Everyone must also carry a valid EU Covid Pass when entering indoor restaurants, tourist establishments and local accommodation, seated events and gyms.
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Everyone aged 12 or over arriving into Spain from the UK must have proof of vaccination at least 14 days before arrival, or complete a PCR test within 72 hours before boarding, testing negative. Travellers must also complete and sign an online Health Control Form no more than 48 hours before flying.
Everyone aged six and over must wear a mask in shops, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, public transport, any indoor space where different households and outdoor space where it’s difficult to social distance.
Spain also enforces social distancing of 1.5m. Depending on the region travellers are in, there may also be overnight curfews, a limit on social gatherings, further restrictions on meeting with people from other households and a capacity limit for those visiting the beach.
Anyone can travel to Italy without having to self-isolate, but must prove they have been fully vaccinated.
British passengers must also fill in a passenger locator form and take a PCR or antigen test within 48 hours before flying to Italy, with proof of a negative result.
Those who aren’t fully vaccinated will need to self-isolate in Italy for five days and take another PCR or antigen test at the end of the isolation.
You must also travel to your destination by private transport only, and inform the local health authority in the area where you are staying.
Anyone aged 12 or older must access a “green pass” which enables entry to public spaces such as indoor seating at bars and restaurants, hotels, museums, swimming pools and large events. Individuals must also carry their pass when travelling on public transport between regions.
Those who haven’t been fully vaccinated can still access a temporary 48-hour green pass by testing negative with a rapid Covid test from local pharmacies.
All holidaymakers must complete a passenger locator form before travelling.
Everyone aged 12 or over must provide either a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test within 48 hours before boarding, or proof of full vaccination status at least 14 days before arrival or proof of recovery from Covid – a positive PCR result from 30-180 days before travelling.
Brits must be prepared to take a rapid Covid test on arrival and quarantine in a hotel for at least 10 days if required.
Everyone aged five or over must wear a face mask inside public spaces, populated outdoor spaces and on public transport.
They must also prove vaccination status when entering some public spaces such as shops, indoor and outdoor restaurants, and museums – and be prepared to show proof of vaccination when asked.
Travellers without proof of vaccination will be unable to enter sport stadiums, but can enter public spaces including shops, restaurants and nightclubs with proof of a negative rapid test taken up to 48 hours before entry.
(Image: Pedro Szekely/Flickr)
All arrivals into Turkey aged 12 or over must provide either a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, a negative rapid antigen test within 48 hours before arrival or proof of full vaccination status completed at least 14 days before arrival.
Arrivals may be subjected to temperature checks, or random PCR testing on arrival.
All arrivals aged six or over must also complete an online form 72 hours before travelling.
The wearing of masks is mandatory when inside public indoor spaces or crowded outdoor spaces. Use of public transport will require proof of vaccination or a negative test taken 48 hours prior – the same rules are required for crowded events such as theatres, cinemas or concerts.
All travellers aged 12 or over from the UK must show either proof of vaccination, a negative Covid antigen test not older than 48 hours, a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or a doctor’s certificate of recovery from Covid.
UK travellers will also need to complete an online entry form before travelling to Croatia.
Masks are mandatory indoors and in all enclosed spaces as well as outside crowded spaces. Cafes, clubs and restaurants are open but have their own curfews and capacity rules.
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