Here we are again: since today, 30th Nov 2021, from 4am GMT to enter the UK fully vaccinated travellers need to prove they have already booked & paid a PCR test to be carried out by day 2. The price ranges from £55 to £99 (EUR 66 to EUR 120) while until yesterday evening an antigen test (about £29, EUR 35) was enough to show at the UK borders. Besides, until one gets the test results, they must stay self-isolated in their house or hotel room.
This measure comes from a country that too soon lifted the obligation of wearing face masks indoor and didn’t bother enforcing strict checks of Covid-19 passes (or whatever they are named) when accessing pubs, bars and restaurants.
I have been in Italy, Spain and Greece in the last couple of months and everywhere I went to I was asked to show my Covid-19 pass that certified my fully vaccination status before entering bars and restaurants; every shop requested to wear face masks before stepping into their premises, likewise for using public transport (underground, buses and trains).
I understand the omicron variant, recently identified, may generate worries but I don’t understand why fully vaccinated individuals – living or passing through countries that have been always careful about managing the pass checks and rigorous about ensuring that people wear face masks – should be forced to spend more than 100 Euros to enter a country that objectively has made mistakes on managing this pandemic.
Businesses have already faced slow-downs, closures and difficulties in overcoming long and frequent lockdown periods. Charging now fully vaccinated travellers to enter the country with these mandatory tests on day 2 and day 8 after landing doesn’t encourage people to go to the UK and the business world will suffer again.
Other issues apply to EU countries where each one adopts different rules according to their own infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants or level of occupancy of hospitals rooms (see this map). This means travelling across the EU and UK has again become complicated.
We all must be cautious about dealing with this pandemic period: we should sanitise our hands and wear face masks when needed, especially indoor, but what we strongly need is a sort of consistency in the rules applied, otherwise it is going to be complete chaos.
My opinion refers to fully vaccinated people as I am. Of course, those who didn’t want to protect themselves and the others by refusing the vaccine will have to bear more responsibility for their actions and maybe pay for it such as having their movements restricted and probably more.
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO