The first case of Omicron variant was announced on 24 November by South Africa. When first detected, the Government introduced the requirement for all international arrivals aged 12 or above to take a Covid-19 test before travelling, regardless of their vaccination status.
Since then scientists have been studying the variant, reporting that Omicron leads to less severe disease than other Covid variants.
As it is now the dominant strain within the UK, It is understood that under forthcoming changes to travel requirements, UK arrivals will no longer be obliged to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test.
Travel trade body Abta is keen for the removal of additional testing, stating that:
“The Government has always been clear that once the Omicron variant is widespread across the UK there would be little rationale for retaining any restrictions on international travel,” it said in a statement.
“It’s vitally important therefore that the additional testing requirements that were introduced are removed as quickly as possible, in line with scientific and medical advice, particularly as we are fast approaching the key booking season for next summer.”
While it’s great news that the Omicron variant appears to be less severe, it is still highly transmissible. This has, of course, caused holidaymakers some level of concern.
So, we’ve put together a guide detailing what you should do if you need to cancel your holiday as you’re required to self-isolate or test positive for Covid.
Choose the right type of Travel Insurance policy
In light of the new variant of Covid-19, there’s no doubt that you should protect both yourself and your holiday. After all, while we hope your trip goes smoothly – we all know how quickly things can change.
Chris Rolland, CEO of AllClear Travel Insurance, comments: “Ensuring that your Travel Insurance policy covers you fully in these unusual times will give people one less thing to worry about.“
To travel with confidence – you’ll want a policy that has Covid-19 cover included.
What to do if you have to self-isolate and you’re due to go on holiday
If you haven’t booked your trip
If you haven’t booked your accommodation or flights, and you receive a ‘ping’ from the NHS app – simply call your travel insurance provider and see if they can move the dates of your cover. This will be specific to your policies, terms and agreements.
If you only have flights booked but not accommodation, it may be possible to rearrange your flights. This will depend on each airline. For example, although all Ryanair flights cannot be cancelled, they are changeable up to 2.5 hours before the flight departure time.
If your holiday is booked
If your holiday is booked, your package provider may be able to offer you a refund. Travel insurance is there to help you when you are not able to recover cancellation costs. This will be dependent on your policies’ specific terms and conditions.
If you have an AllClear Gold, Gold Plus or Platinum travel insurance policy with AllClear, we will cover you should you test positive for COVID-19 and are unable to travel. We also offer cover if you are required to self-isolate.
For details on various covid related scenarios, check out our Coronavirus travel insurance FAQs
Travel actions to take before Travelling
The following travel actions can help you prepare for your post-lockdown trip:
- Check the FCDO for the latest travel advice, entry and quarantine requirements of your chosen destination.
- Check your chosen destinations local restrictions, rules and measures -for example. Some places may still have curfews.
- If your chosen destination requires you to be vaccinated as an entry requirement, you’ll need to download your proof of vaccination.’
- Sign up to receive travel advice email alerts, so you’ll access to information about your chosen destination.
- If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), make sure it is still valid for your trip, or replace it with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
- Be prepared for travel disruption – at short notice, countries can close their borders or change their entry requirements.
- Buy comprehensive Travel Insurance that includes Covid cover.
We have plenty of travel-related resources to help you further prepare for your future travel plans. Our guides include; How to access ‘proof of vaccination’ for the purpose of travel and what to expect when arriving at your holiday destination after the Coronavirus. For access to all post-covid travel, check out our all-in-one post-lockdown travel guide.
Written by Lydia Crispin, MA Content Creator at AllClear
Edited by Letitia Smith, M.Sc. Content Manager at AllClear