UK Changes Travel Requirements, Scientists Warn it May Be Too Late

US State Department and CDC impose new travel restrictions
Image credit: EPA

Beginning Tuesday morning, all arrivals into the UK will be required to take a Covid test before their departure. The latest restrictions have come in order to halt a potential wave of the latest variant. 

But some scientists have said the restrictions have come too late. 

A scientist advising the UK government, Professor Mark Woolhouse, said that the new rules were “too late” to make any sort of “material difference.” 

The UK Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said the rules are necessary due to the increasing number of cases linked to travel. These latest comments came as reports showed a rise in cases, specifically omicron cases, in the UK. On Saturday, there were 160 cases. That rose to 246 on Sunday. That is more than 50 percent increase in just one day, even if the numbers seem quite low. 

Javid tried to calm fears over the measures, stating that they were only temporary, without going into detail of how long they would be in place. But the changes are being treated as a blow to the travel industry, with the Business Travel Association warning that livelihoods are at risk with any more restrictions. 

The UK government’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, said that while they understood the measures may “upset” or “disrupt” people, they firmly believe they are necessary and that incremental steps are needed to avoid even bigger disruptions to both travel, as well as the economy. 

The UK is not the only country altering its travel requirements to enter. In the U.S., travel restrictions are impending due to the rising Covid cases and fears of the latest variant, Omicron. 

Visitors must prove full vaccination to enter the U.S., and those who are not vaccinated must self-isolate for a week and take a Covid test after their arrival, within three to five days. 

Previously, visitors to the United States had to prove a negative Covid test. 

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