NEWS: COVID-19 testing rules are CHANGING in the UK

To ensure that we are equipping our readers with all the information they need, we will continue to report any travel, security, and COVID news that may affect a visit to Disney parks.

COVID-19 continues to affect theme parks, travel plans and more around the world.

COVID-19 health and safety signal

Just this week, we’ve seen Hong Kong Disneyland close temporarily due to concerns about COVID-19. We also saw some daily records of COVID-19 cases in the United States. The CDC has also updated certain recommendations on isolation and quarantine, and we have seen updates on COVID-19 reinforcements. We have now received an update on COVID-19 testing in another part of the world.

According to The Orange County Register, UK health authorities have changed the testing requirements for COVID-19. These changes are “designed to reduce isolation times ”and alleviate staff shortages.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this in the House of Commons COVID-19 testing will no longer be required prior to departure for persons traveling to England. Bloomberg notes that this change is specifically for vaccinated travelers.

The Orange County Registry shares that Johnson indicated that the Omicron COVID-19 variant is already so common in the UK that the travel restrictions that once had to contain the spread of the virus now make no sense. Bloomberg reports that this change will begin on Friday.

COVID-19 Test © Orlando International Airport

The BBC also points out that from Sunday onwards, those arriving in England will not have to take a PCR test and isolate themselves while waiting for the result. Instead, they can do a side flow test after arrival and do not need to isolate themselves while waiting for the result.

As for other changes, the Orange County Registry shares that the UK Health Safety Agency has indicated from 11 January, people in England who test positive for COVID-19 by a lateral flow test will not have to confirm this positive result with a PCR test, as long as they are asymptomatic.

This will reduce the time these people need to isolate themselves, as these people will no longer have to wait for the result of a PCR test and then start another 7-day isolation period.

Vaccine sign against COVID-19

These changes are spreading rapidly to other areas. The Orange County Register notes that authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland followed suit, making similar changes. Scotland and Wales also plan to introduce these tight rules later this week.

John Edmunds, an epidemiologist and professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the measure made sense. According to Edmunds, “almost everyone who tests positive with a lateral flow test will be truly positive,” so there’s really no need to confirm this with a PCR test.

Disney World Health and Safety Signage from May 2021

But Edmunds points out that this can also cause some complications. The lack of PCR evidence will make the authorities less aware of the spread of different variants (PCR swabs are those used for genotyping and sequencing to know the different mutations). Daily updates on confirmed cases of COVID-19 (which again come from PCR tests) will also “need more careful interpretation.”

Bloomberg shares that “the change in national testing standards means Now, the government will trust people to report their test results at home to track the pandemic. ” There is a question of how many will continue to report the results of their tests, as they will no longer have to take the PCR test.

Health and Safety Signage at Disneyland, California

There has been quite a shortage of staff in the UK Some organizations have even reported “critical incidents” due to staff shortages. Some hospitals indicated that they would pause some non-urgent surgeries due to the impact of COVID-19 and staff shortages. Elsewhere, there have been cuts to train services, and staff shortages have led to the accumulation of rubbish on some streets.

Some politicians and public health experts, however, had pushed for stricter restrictions on “business and personal interactions” due to the spread of Omicron. The BBC shares that England will adhere to certain “Plan B measures” related to COVID-19, which include facial mask requirements in most indoor settings, COVID-19 passports for large settings and more.

As always, please note that these rules are subject to change. We will keep an eye out for more updates and let you know what we find.

Click here for more information on Omicron and Disney World.

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