England Enters Third Lockdown & Negative Covid-19 PCR-RT Test Soon Required For All Arrivals

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Today, England, Wales, and Scotland instituted lockdowns prohibiting all but necessary visits outside of homes, such as buying food and medicines. England’s lockdown is set to last until mid-February.

Passengers entering the UK will soon require to provide the airline a negative Covid-19 PCR-RT test administered no more than 72 hours before scheduled departure. It is unclear if this also applies to transit passengers.

The lockdowns will prohibit all leisure travel, and only essential work travel is allowed. Expect mass flight cancellations from both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

The airlines may zero out the flights now, but not cancel them more than a day or two out, hoping that the passengers chicken out and opt for an IOU (credit) instead of a cash refund.

Here the instructions for the lockdown in England:

Download (PDF, 140KB)

The infection rates are high in the UK at the moment, likely partially due to the new, more transmissible mutation of Covid-19 making its rounds.

Financial Times is reporting that there will be soon a negative PCR-RT test requirement for all passenger arrivals to the UK:

Ministers are finalising proposals to tighten up entry into England from abroad with plans to introduce pre-flight PCR tests for anyone entering the country.

The announcement, expected later this week, will mean that anyone hoping to travel to England will have to receive a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours before travelling.

Conclusion

You can expect both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to fly a skeleton schedule until the lockdowns are over.

Last time, Virgin Atlantic grounded its entire fleet for an extended period. Let’s hope that it won’t need to do it again because it could be the final nail on the airline’s coffin. Virgin had high hopes for air travel to rebound strongly from late 2020/early 2021.

In case you have a ticket to/from/via the UK that you no longer plan to fly, wait until the airline cancels the service, and you are then eligible for a refund. Cancellations can occur with little advance notice as airlines hope to hold on to the cash rather than return it to the consumers.

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