The latest Coronavirus variant that started to spread like wildfire in late 2021 has affected travel plans for many due to updated testing and entry restrictions, and testing positive, even when otherwise entirely asymptomatic.
My New Year plans changed from Paris, Lisbon, and Amsterdam, to Mexico City, as many countries in Europe were trying to limit the spread of the Omicron and instituted new restrictions and partial lockdowns.
I ended up ticketing one of the AeroMexico fares Freddo wrote about from Spain to Sao Paulo that allowed stopovers in Mexico City, and I am on a third one right now.
The New Year in Mexico City went well, and we had a great time.
Then came the Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro part. I jokingly thought that this was an excellent way to test my immunity against the latest coronavirus (I had one of the original varieties in November 2020 while in Rio and double jabbed with Pfizer in May & July 2021).
I was scheduled to fly to Bangkok on January 17 from Stockholm on one of those AF & KLM discounted business class fares.
Between returning to Europe and flying to Bangkok, I needed to take care of something in Tallinn. So I decided to do one of the Covid-19 PCR-RT tests in Estonia, as they are roughly one-third the price compared to Finland, and get a second one at the harbor in Helsinki (free if you can convince them to perform one).
At the Helsinki harbor, I was told that they wouldn’t test those who had been double vaccinated, but I managed to get them to probe my nose.
Both the test from Tallinn and the one from Helsinki harbour came back as positive. The result from the Finnish test came in about 10 hours, and the Tallinn one took roughly 20.
I contacted the travel agent that I used to ticket premium fares and had a refund on my credit card in less than a week.
Then, I had to decide what to do next. I was going to spend 10 days in Helsinki. The self-quarantine requirements and guidance were changing to as little as five nights.
I knew from my previous experience in 2020 that you might have positive PCR-RT results weeks after you had it (mine was positive for at least six weeks).
Thailand then wasn’t yet reopened with the Test&Go (they did on February 1), and the exact requirements were unclear when it came to arrivals that had recently had a Covid-19 infection and may still test positive on PCR-RT.
I decided to return to Latin America until early April (Mexico, Chile, Argentina & Brazil) and travel to Thailand and Singapore (and perhaps Cambodia & Vietnam) in April and May. I don’t need a PCR-RT test until early March before flying to Santiago. Mexico doesn’t require anything, while antigen test is acceptable for Brazil.
It was good that in both cases, when I tested positive, I had just arrived in Finland, where it was easier for me to arrange self-isolation, and I wouldn’t be “locked up” in a Covid-jail or ward that await travellers in some destinations.
Many of my friends have had this latest Covid-variant since it emerged in early December, and more have likely had it without noticing. My throat was somewhat off one morning, which is not unusual during winter, but no other symptoms.
Now that I have had Covid-twice and jabbed with Pfizer twice, I should be covered for some time when it comes to coronavirus. I’ll probably have a booster in the spring (I was scheduled to have a day when I received the positive results).
What obstacles has this latest variant thrown in your way?