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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

All travellers to UK to soon need negative Covid-19 test

The UK government has announced that it is introducing new rules stating that all arrivals into the country will need to present a negative Covid test.

All travellers to UK to soon need negative Covid-19 test
Photo: AFP

Since the discovery of the new strain of Covid-19 first identified in the UK, scores of countries around the world have made a negative Covid test a requirement for all arrivals from the UK.

But now the British government has announced that it will require negative tests for anyone going into the country.

The requirement covers all arrivals, including British citizens, with only a small number of exemptions. The test must have been taken in the 72 hours prior to travel.

 

People arriving with a negative test result will still have to quarantine for 10 days after arrival, according to the government.

The new policy was announced for England, but the devolved nations have said they will follow suit.

According to British transport secretary Grant Shapps, the new rule will come into force in England next week (no exact date was given) and “as soon as possible” in Scotland.

Exemptions to the testing requirement are listed as hauliers, children under 11, arrivals from the Common Travel Area (with Ireland) and arrivals from countries where testing infrastructure is not in place. There was no detail given on the type of tests that will be accepted at the UK border.

People arriving into the UK will still have to fill in the contact locator form before arriving at the border. You can find the form here.

In reality lockdown rules and restrictions imposed on arrivals from the UK by multiple European countries mean that few people are travelling at present.

 

Member comments

  1. Grant Shapps: it will come into force in England next week; no detail given on type of test. On tv he said brightly that there are all sorts of tests. Extra bright expression to make it look as if everything was fine & he knows what he’s doing. Sorry, rest of the world. He doesn’t. They don’t. Excruciatingly embarrassing government.

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COVID-19

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

After several months of a relatively low number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland, the rate of infections rose by over 22 percent in a span of seven days this week. What measures are Swiss health officials planning to prevent a new wave?

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

The Swiss government has said that “further waves of infections are to be expected in the fall/winter of 2022/2023″.

As in previous waves, “the main objective of managing the pandemic is to prevent an overload of the health system. It is currently difficult to predict the magnitude of the waves of infection and, therefore, the burden on the healthcare system”, it added.

According to current estimates, “it can be assumed that ordinary structures will be sufficient to manage the situation”.

However, unless new, deadly variants emerge in the near future, health officials  expect the new wave to be milder than the ones  that struck in the winter of 2020 and 2021.

There are several reasons for this optimism:

Higher immunity

Due to vaccinations and infections, “it is estimated that 97 percent of the Swiss population has been in contact with the virus”, which means that “immunity within the population is currently high”, authorities said.

Lighter course

This means that unlike the early Covid strains like Alpha and Delta, which were highly virulent, the latest dominant mutation — Omicron and its subvariants — while highly contagious, are also less dangerous for most people.

New vaccines

The new version of the Moderna vaccine, which should better target certain sub-variants of Omicron, will be rolled in Switzerland from October 10th.

Compared to the original vaccine, which was effective mostly against early strains and offered no protection against Omicron, “the new vaccine produces a stronger immune response against the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.4/5″, according to the drug regulatory body, Swissmedic.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Switzerland approves new Covid-19 boosters

Is the government planning any specific measures this winter?

While the severity of the new wave is not yet known, authorities have made several ‘just-in-case’ provisions by, for instance, extending the Covid-19 law until June 2024.

This legislation, which was approved in a referendum in November 2021, allows the Federal Council to maintain and apply emergency measures that are necessary to manage the pandemic. Without the extension, ithe law would lapse in December of this year.

READ MORE: Covid-19 law: How Switzerland reacted to the referendum results

“No one wants to reactivate the Covid law. But after two years of the pandemic, we have understood that we must be ready”, said MP Mattea Meyer.

While no mask mandates or other restrictions are being discussed at this time, the re-activated legislation would allow the authorities to quickly introduce any measures they deem necessary, according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

More preparations from the cantons

As it would be up to the cantons to apply measures set by the federal government, some have asked that financing be made available in case regional hospitals have to again accommodate patients from other cantons.

They are also making sure enough intensive care beds are ready for Covid patients.

What about the Covid certificate and tracing?

Though it is no longer used in Switzerland, the certificate continues to be required abroad.

The government will ensure its international compatibility.

The legal basis for the SwissCovid tracking app will also remain in force and can be reactivated during the winter of 2023/2024, if necessary.

MPs are also debating possible rules to be enforced for cross-border workers in the event of border closures.

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