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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Monkeypox in Sweden: what causes it, and is it serious?

Sweden reported its first case of the monkeypox virus on May 20th. What causes the virus, and should we be worried?

Monkeypox in Sweden: what causes it, and is it serious?

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox, apkoppor in Swedish, is a zoonotic virus (a virus spread from animals to humans) which most often occurs in areas of tropical rainforest in Central and West Africa. It is occasionally found in other regions, and cases have recently been discovered in Europe, North America and Australia.

What causes it?

Monkeypox is spread via close contact with an animal or human with the monkeypox virus. It can be transmitted via bodily fluids, lesions, respiratory droplets or through contaminated materials, such as bedding.

Recent cases of the virus in Europe are thought to have been spread through sexual activity, Klara Sondén, infectious disease physician at the Public Health Agency told newspaper Aftonbladet.

“That’s a hypothesis at the moment and it’s new compared to how the disease has spread previously,” Sondén told the newspaper.

“The classic symptoms are skin lesions which cover the body. In the European cases, the problem has been localised to the genitals. Many of those with suspected infections have also reported that they recently had sexual contact with a new partner,” she explained to Aftonbladet.

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions. Photo: Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC/AP

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of monkeypox include a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash  similar to chickenpox typically develops, often starting on the face and spreading to other parts of the body, including the genitals.

Monkeypox typically has an incubation period of six to 16 days, but it can be as long as 21 days. Once lesions have scabbed over and fallen off, the person with the virus is no longer infectious.

However, Sondén explained to Aftonbladet that the incubation period for this new sort of monkeypox could be different.

“We’re unsure of the incubation period. Usually, the incubation period is one or two weeks, but now we don’t know for sure how long it is.”

Why is it in the news now?

Although cases of monkeypox have been reported outside of affected areas of Central and West Africa previously, the virus is making headlines now as this is the first time cases have been identified in someone with no recent history of travel to affected areas and no history of contact with previous imported cases.

So far, seven cases have been reported in the UK, five confirmed cases and more than 20 suspected cases in Portugal, 23 suspected cases in Spain and 13 suspected cases in Canada.

New cases have been reported in recent days in France, Italy and Australia, as well as Sweden’s first case, reported on May 19th.

Is it dangerous?

The type of monkeypox seen in affected areas of Central and West Africa can be serious and, occasionally, deadly. However, it appears that the cases detected so far in Europe have been relatively mild.

“We don’t know of any case in Europe where the affected individual has been seriously or critically ill,” Sondén told Aftonbladet.

The Public Health Agency has asked the government to classify monkeypox as an allmänfarlig sjukdom or an illness presenting a risk to society. This may seem serious, but the Agency says that this is so they can access tools to track and contain the disease such as contact tracing, which is governed by infection control laws.

“There’s nothing you need to think about in your daily life or at work,” Sondén told Aftonbladet. “We’re announcing this because we want to raise awareness of the sexual aspect. If you, for example, start showing symptoms after you’ve recently had sex with a new partner.”

There is no vaccine for monkeypox approved in Europe, but vaccines for smallpox are effective against the virus, as the two viruses are members of the same family.