Here are some questions frequently asked by persons who intend to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
Which countries are on COVID-19 exempt list and what does this mean for travellers?
The UK government has released a list which contains names of countries exempted from the mandatory 14-day self-isolation when travellers arrive in the UK, but, persons travelling from these countries will need to take a COVID19 test for travel before their trip.
Presently, the countries on the exempt list include the following.
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Azores, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire/St Eustatius/Saba, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cambodia, The Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Cuba, The Channel Islands, Dominica, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Finland, Gibraltar, Greek Islands of Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes and Zakynthos, Grenada, Greenland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, The Isle of Man, Japan, Jerusalem, Laos, Latvia, Macau, Madeira, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Montserrat, Namibia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, St. Helena, South Korea, Sri Lanka, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Singapore, St. Barthélemy, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, St. Lucia, St. Pierre and Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Thailand, Taiwan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay United Arab Emirates, Vietnam.
Can I make an international trip or I must quarantine for two weeks after arrival?
This will depend on your travel destination. Most countries regularly update their entry regulations and requirement. You should check the entry requirement of your travel destination before you make plans for the trip and chose the day of your flight.
This information may be available on the official website of the country or their health authority. Ensure you continuously check for updates.
What does the mandatory 14-day quarantine in the UK mean, and how will this affect my international trip?
People entering into the UK from the 8th of June need to undergo 14-day self-isolation as this helps curtail the spread of COVID-19. Persons on self-isolation must complete their quarantine periods and can only leave for any of these reasons.
- An emergency occurs
- The funeral of a close family member
- To get medicine and food if they can’t get someone to deliver it
- Immediate medical attention
- Social service support
No one, including the relatives and friends of persons in quarantine, can visit.
How is the UK’s government implementing the 14-day travel quarantine?
When you enter into the UK, you will fill a form. In this form, you will include the address of where you would self-isolate and your contact details. The government will arrange a place for you to stay if you do not have one.
The government has health experts carrying out spot checks to make sure you comply with the requirement, if you fall short of any, you will pay a fine of up to £1000, or they will issue you a threat of persecution.
When would hotels in Europe open to receive international guests?
Most hotels in Europe are open, but have strict cleaning and social distance procedures. However, more hotels are planning to reopen following thorough cleaning and strict adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Before entry into most European countries, you have to complete a form stating the nature of your health. The health declaration form varies, so ensure you check the official website of your travel destination and fill the required forms.
When would hotels in the Mid-Eastern open to receive international guests?
Most hotels in Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi have opened, however, some facilities in the hotels like the lounges, restaurants, and spas are still closed. To get more info about the hotel, you intend to lodge during your stay in any of these countries, check their official website or contact your travel manager. Ensure you check for updates because rules and regulations are continually changing.
Dubai entry requirements include the following
- You must take your PCR test for travel at most, 72 hours before you travel and have a certificate to prove you are not infected. They do not accept the NHS test certificate, so you have to pay for a private test.
- You may decide to take your PCR test on arrival at the Dubai International Airport, but quarantine while waiting for your result.
- You must have a recognised travel medical insurance
The Abu Dhabi International Airport is not open for international flights, so you have to arrive at Dubai Airport, then book a transfer flight to Abu Dhabi or drive to your hotel to spend your holiday in Abu Dhabi. However, a trip to Abu Dhabi requires you to quarantine for about two weeks.
When would hotels in Maldives open to receive international guests?
Travellers are free to spend their holidays in the Maldives, but travellers must have a negative COVID-19 test certificate to prove they are not infected before entering into the country. Travellers must take the COVID-19 test not more than 72 hours before arrival and complete the e-health declaration form before their trip.
When would hotels in Mauritius open to receive international guests?
Travellers can visit Mauritius for tourism, but they must quarantine for about two weeks in their hotel when they enter the country.
When would Caribbean hotels open to receive international guests?
Most Caribbean islands are now open to tourists, but only a few are on the COVD-19 exempt list. Travellers can visit Barbados for tourism but provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken not more than 96 hours before arrival. Barbados considers the UK a high-risk destination, so people travelling from the UK will get another test on arrival.
Travellers countries like Barbados consider as high risk will be allowed to lodge in a pre-approved hotel and use pre-approved transport to the hotel. Travellers also need to complete some ED Travel forms.
Are hotel facilities such as pools, bars, restaurants and clubs open?
Facilities in some hotels are now open while others remain closed. You need to check the official website of the hotel you intend to stay for updates and to know what facilities they have opened.
Do I need to wear PPE to board a flight?
Yes, you do. Anybody entering into an airport must wear their face mask or shield. This is mandatory for children up to six years and adults.
How early should I be at the airport before my flight departure time?
Passengers must adhere to the safety guidelines of the airport and airline. You can arrive at the airport about two hours before a three-hour long haul or European flight.
Are lounges in airports open?
This depends on the airport. London Heathrow and London Gatwick airport lounges are temporarily closed.
Do airlines have regulation and rules to ensure the safety of passengers?
Different airlines have several measures put in place to ensure that crew members and passengers are safe. These measures include:
- Disinfecting the hard surfaces in the cabin and toilet, carpets, and seats between flights
- Regularly maintaining their HEPA filter to ensure circulation of clean air
Some airlines are now providing their crew members with safety kit containing gloves, face masks, and hand sanitisers. Most airlines encourage passengers to have cleaning products like disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces before touching them.
Most short-haul flights no longer offer food services, while some offer only bottled or canned beverages. Long-haul flights now offer only pre-packages food to passengers, while others encourage passengers to have their snacks during the flight.
Are there new guidelines concerning airport safety and health measures?
COVID-19 has affected airports, so most airports now have new policies and regulations to keep the airport staff and travellers safe. Different airports are constantly updating their safety guidelines, so ensure you check the official website of the airport you intend to travel through to know their COVID-19 policies. The safety and health measures in most airports include:
- Installation stations for hand sanitising
- Social distancing
- Nightly thorough cleaning of terminals
- Cleaning handrails, people movers, restrooms, seating areas, and elevators
Do airlines have their specific health and safety, and social distancing policies?
Some airlines have health and safety policies different from that of the airport, so if you intend to travel with an airline, ensure you check the airline’s official website to know their travel requirements. Some airlines have put restrictions on baggage.
Air theme parks open, if they are, what measures are available for social distancing?
Some theme parks have reopened, have additional measures to ensure all visitors are safe. To enter some of these parks like the Adventure Island in Tampa, you need to book your ticket online, because purchasing tickets at the gate is temporarily closed.
Children above two years need to wear their face mask to enter packed, and everyone entering the park must have a temperature screening at the gate. Parks now allow only contactless payment and request all visitors to adhere to the social distancing regulation.
Visit the official website of the theme park you wish to visit to know more about their COVID-19 health and safety measures.
Are brunches in Dubai open?
Most brunches in Dubai are open and will operate as normal when hotels begin to, but people need to adhere to the social distancing measures. Brunches operating on buffet service are now using the à la cart service option. For updated information, visit the hotel or restaurant’s official website.
Are waterparks on Dubai open?
Some waterparks like the Wild Wadi and Aquaventure Waterparks are open but ensure you get updated information about their COVID-19 safety policy before you visit these places.
Is it compulsory to wear a face mask to eat in a restaurant?
It depends on the restaurant. Some restaurants have their tables at about 2 meters apart, so you may not need to wear a face mask when you want to eat. Before you visit any restaurant, ensure you call ahead to know their safety policies and make a reservation.
Are buffet services in hotels closed?
All hotels now use the à la cart service option in their restaurants. This helps people adhere to the social distancing requirement.
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