With news of the Omicron variant breaking last week, the world is adjusting and dealing with the uncertainty of the new strain of coronavirus in different ways.

Some places are locking down and others are putting restrictions back in place to avoid lockdowns. At the time when most of us are looking to travel to see family this Christmas, it could not be more ‘inconvenient’ especially when many haven’t seen family members in over two years.

Christmas travel has always come with complications, busy airports, heavier luggage, etc. so the addition of restrictions, PCR tests and isolation periods can be a little overwhelming.

That’s why if you’re looking to travel from the UAE to the UK this Christmas, Emirates Woman has curated a quick guide to keep you in the know.

Tip 1: You must complete a passenger locator form

The passenger locator form must be completed 48 hours before you arrive in the UK.

Tip 2: You must have a negative PCR test before you fly, even if you’re vaccinated

Regardless of your vaccine status, to board a plane to the UK you will need proof of a negative PCR. The PCR must have been taken no more than 48 hours before your flight departure time.

Tip 3: You must have a pre-booked day 2 PCR test when you land in the UK and isolate

The PCR test you take in the UK must be done on or before day two. The day you arrive in the UK is classed as day 0. You must isolate by law until you receive your negative result. The tests must be booked in advance; Collinson and Randox have a range of home-kits, drive-through and walk-in centres across the UK.

Tip 4: If you are unvaccinated you will also need a pre-booked day 8 PCR test and to quarantine

Unvaccinated travellers alongside the day 2 PCR will also need to take a PCR test on day 8 and to quarantine by law until you receive a negative result.

Tip 5: If you test positive

If at any point you test positive, you must quarantine for 10 full days. If your symptoms take a turn for the worst then call the NHS Helpline on 111.

Tip 6: You must have a negative PCR test before you board your flight back to the UAE

Regardless of your vaccine status, the test must be taken no more than 48 hours before your flight departure time. This also has to be a PCR test by a registered healthcare provider so you can show evidence and must not be a result of a home-kit or lateral flow.

Tip 7: Travelling with children

Children aged 4 and under do not have to take any travel tests. Children aged 12 to 17 must take a PCR test in the 2 days before travelling to the UK. Children aged 5 to 17 follow the testing and quarantine rules for people who qualify as fully vaccinated on arrival in the UK.

Tip 8: Keep up-to-date with the news both before you fly and during your trip

Keeping an eye on the news is essential but it’s also important to be aware of what’s going on in Wales and Scotland too as both regions tend to implement different rules and regulations to England.

It’s also advisable to keep on top of the UAE and European news too.  As more often than not we can gauge the restrictions or actions based on those of others. Not to scaremonger but even when you’re in the UK, it would be wise to add news notifications to your phone to keep you in the loop just in case the UK or UAE are looking to alter restrictions or travel regulations.

Tip 9: Local restrictions

The UK has always had a lesser approach to mask-wearing than the UAE and most other countries. However, the Omicron variant has seen the re-introduction of mask-wearing be put back in place for indoor areas. The UK is ramping up their booster vaccine rollout and is looking to have the majority of the UK triple-vaccinated by the end of January 2022.

Tip 10: The red-list is back

The red list has returned and currently has 11 African countries on it. It’s important to check updates for this, especially if you’re looking to travel elsewhere from the UK before returning to the UAE.

Tip 11: If you are feeling unwell at any point during your trip to the UK, stay home

If you’re feeling unwell for the safety of others it’s important you self isolate. The UK government advises to book a PCR test and isolate until you receive the results.

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Images: Supplied