When Can I Travel After Having Covid?
One of the biggest industries impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic is the travel industry. Whether it be through planes or ferries, international travel has been heavily restricted and limited as one of the measures in place to reduce the spread of the illness.
Research from the latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer has concluded that an estimated 54 million tourists crossed international borders in July 2021, down 67% from the same month in 2019, but the strongest result since April 2020.
However, with restrictions being much more liberal now than they were during the pandemic, many have been left wondering about the specifications of their travel requirements, such as “when can I travel after having Covid?”.
Studies have found that over 23.6 million United Kingdom citizens have had Covid-19 at some point in the last 3 years, with 206,000 of those cases being fatalities. In England alone, 19.9 million cases have been recorded, with a combined 3.7 million more cases found in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With so many cases around the UK, it is no surprise that many of them would have had travel plans before catching the virus, leaving them wondering when exactly they can get back on track with their itinerary.
In this article, we will address when you can travel after having Covid, how you can travel, and what restrictions you may face. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Covid-19 restrictions, travel and guidelines.
What Covid-19 Restrictions Are There On Travel?
Many countries have chosen to uphold border restrictions and entry requirements on international travel with the purpose of reducing the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.
Whilst this is an effective choice to make in stopping the spread, it can also make travel in and out of the country much more difficult for tourists and natives alike. Furthermore, with a 70% decline in international tourist arrivals from January to October 2022, it can set a bad precedent and make international tourists more likely to avoid your country. Luckily for most countries, Covid-19 restrictions can be adapted to suit their needs.
Countries are able to lift or implement their own travel bans and quarantine measures to attempt to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at short notice, which can be a rapid and responsive measure to protect people from infection. However, as well as being an effective way to reduce infection, they can also disrupt travel plans - international travel bans and restrictions are mandatory for all citizens, meaning you must comply with local public health authority guidelines in the country that you are visiting.
Depending on the restriction in place, that could lead to longer delays before entering the country, or a more expensive trip. That’s why, before booking your trip, you should make sure to read all of the information available to check that you meet the criteria for travel.
Currently, there is a range of dynamic and ever-changing restrictions on international travel involving the UK. For example, some countries may refuse entry to travellers from the UK if the levels of Covid-19 are high in the UK, and the FCDO may advise you to avoid travelling to a country if the level of Covid-19 there is high and/or if local healthcare has been severely overwhelmed.
More typical restrictions include countries requiring travellers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test before you travel, proof of recent or past Covid-19 infection (Fit to Fly certificate), or provide proof of your Covid-19 vaccination status. Besides these standard entry requirements, countries may request that you quarantine on arrival at your destination, complete additional documents prior to your arrival or provide evidence of having valid travel insurance that adequately covers a Covid-19 infection.
The ultimate control over what restrictions are enforced is held by the governing power of each respective country. However, many countries have chosen to use firm restrictions for the purpose of greater safety and protection from the virus. With over 612,000,000 Covid-19 cases identified in the world, it’s no surprise that many countries are taking strong measures to prevent outbreaks of this level from ever happening again.
What Country Has The Most Covid Restrictions?
It has been well-documented that Covid-19 originated in Wuhan, China. As of June 6th 2022, the novel Covid-19 variant that originated from Wuhan, SARS-CoV-2, had infected over 2.1 million people and killed 14,612 in the country. As a result of the ongoing presence of Covid-19 in China during the peak of the pandemic, heavy travel restrictions were implemented, some of which are still seen today.
When you first arrive in China, you and your family will be subject to health checks to ensure that you are carrying no virus or disease with you into the country. Unlike other countries with similar travel restrictions, nobody is exempt from the testing, including children. To help with these, we recommend taking a PCR, antigen or lateral flow test alongside bringing a Fit To Fly certificate.
In the event that anyone fails the health checks in China, including children, they will be contacted by host authorities and sent to a designated hospital for treatment and testing.
Once committed, you must remain until you have tested negative for Covid-19 multiple times, the process for which can take a number of weeks. This is because a PCR test will be used, which is a test that detects genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus, and uses the data it collects to determine whether or not an individual has been infected. Analysed in a lab by professionals, these may take much longer to come back.
One of the more extreme restrictions that China uses is separation; if one of your family members is found to be carrying the Covid-19 virus, they will be separated and forced into isolation away from the rest of the family. The reason that this is sometimes seen as extreme is because children are not exempt - you may be separated from your child if one of you tests positive.
With so many restrictions still in place this long after the peak of the pandemic, China is most definitely the country with the most entry requirements. However, the restrictions are reasonable considering the virus originated from China and undoubtedly damaged their country to significant extents.
When Can I Travel After Having Covid?
On most commercial flights, you will need to wear a mask, demonstrate proof of being Covid-free and practice general common sense in regards to public safety. However, many are left unsure of how long to leave their travel plans after they have recovered from Covid for fear of infecting others and contributing to the spread.
If you had a mild case of Covid-19 but stayed at home and haven’t been hospitalised nor treated in intensive care, then you are welcome to fly provided you don’t have a fever, you feel well and haven’t had any respiratory symptoms for 48 hours before your flight departure. As well as these regulations, a good suggestion would be to wait 5 days after the first day of positive infection to give the virus time to disperse and to limit the risk of infecting others on your travels.
Alternatively, if you had a serious case of Covid-19 and were treated in a hospital or intensive care unit, you are welcome to fly, granted all respiratory symptoms are gone and you have since tested negative for Covid-19. Studies have found that over 993,521 patients have been admitted to intensive care for Covid-19 over the course of the pandemic, with 3,910 admitted in the last 7 days alone.
Do You Need An Emergency Covid Test?
If you believe that you may be suffering from Covid-19 and would like clarity so that you can seek treatment, it’s always best to take a test as soon as possible. Our specialist team is on hand around the clock to provide quality care and services to help get Covid-19 tests to you so that you can start the road to recovery earlier. With our innovative new services and products, we are able to provide you with a unique and speedy service that will help redefine the meaning of ‘customer service’ forever.
Our mission is always to reinvent the modern way of taking and receiving Covid-19 tests and provide a service which is reflective of modern-day issues and solutions. We have always been proud to be able to say that our service has catered to 15,000 travellers to date, with many more expected to come in the following years.
For more information on how to reach us and order your tests today, you can contact Official Rapid Tests using our online form for the quickest responses and swift support from members of our team. Alternatively, you may choose to book an appointment for consultation either in person or over the phone to discuss your options and what may suit you best. Whatever you choose to do, we have no doubt that you’ll find what you’re looking for with us.