By Natalie Williams •
Published: 07 Dec 2021 • 21:12
Brit holidaymakers furious after PCR test confusion forces queues for pre-flight Covid tests after new regulations came into force, today, Tuesday, December 7.
British holidaymakers in Portugal and Spain were left unsure on their way to the airport not knowing if they needed a PCR test done two days before flight or not more than 48 hours from take-off.
The British government has published different Covid information with people having to end their holiday prematurely as the queues in Spain and Portugal are growing rapidly.
One baffled passenger said: “If your flight leaves at 11 am on Friday and you take the Covid test at 9 am on Wednesday you are fine if the rule is 2 days. But if the rule is 48 hours, taking a test at 9 am Wednesday would not permit boarding if the flight is at 11 am Friday as it would be two hours outside the 48-hour window. Travellers can get stranded if the airlines think it’s 48 hours but the rules say any time on the two days before the day of the flight.”
Another tweeted: “As usual PCR at Heathrow not able to cope. #expresstest long queues at arrivals”.
Another irritated traveller wrote: “For anyone who says it isn’t a problem to get a PCR test done pre or post-flight this is the queue at Mcr airport drive-through. We have an appointment and have been here 20mins already and will probably be at least an hour more”.
The extra restrictions were brought in following the discovery of the Omicron variant, thought to have originated in southern Africa, with non-vaccinated Brits over the age of 12 barred from travelling to Spain.
In a bid to get some clarity, some travellers took to social media to get answers from the government. Unfortunately, some were left even more confused than before as government Twitter accounts told passengers to ignore its previously published guidance.
The Foreign Office told one traveller: “Please follow the guidelines regarding the pre-departure test as opposed to the press release.”
One angry Twitter user wrote: “Shouldn’t they change the press release? The incorrect information there just leads to more uncertainty and all news outlets are reporting 48 HOURS before the flight, not 2 DAYS because that is what the press release says. This will mess travellers up.”.
One Government website page, titled ‘Coronavirus testing before you travel to England’, tells travellers “You must take the test in the 2 days before your service to England departs. If your journey to England is a multi-leg journey, you must take the test in the 2 days before the start of the first leg.”
But another page, titled ‘Tests required before travel to UK and Nigeria added to the red list’, says: “In light of emerging evidence on the Omicron variant, from 4 am on Tuesday, December 7 anyone aged 12 and above wishing to travel to the UK will need to show a negative pre-departure test (LFD or PCR) as close as possible to departure and not more than 48 hours before to slow the importation of the new variant.”
All travellers going into the UK from countries, not on the red list are not required to have pre-flight tests, however, all arrivals must quarantine on arrival plus they must take a PCR test at the end of day two and maintain quarantine until they have a negative result.
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