What happens if you get track-and-traced before your holiday?

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With new travel rules announced in the face of the omicron variant, what happens if you’re contacted by Test and Trace before your holiday? Do you have to cancel your trip if you’re told to isolate? The answers are not always simple – but we have addressed the most pertinent questions below.

If I am contacted by Test and Trace, do I still have to cancel my holiday?

No. If you are fully vaccinated, you are no longer required to self isolate – even if the positive case is a member of your household. However, the Government “strongly advises” that those who have been contacted by Test and Trace:

  • Take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days, or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive for Covid if this is earlier 
  • Take the daily test before you leave the household for the first time that day

If you are not exempt from isolation – for example if you are not fully vaccinated – you will be notified by Test and Trace. In this case, you must cancel your holiday. Failure to self-isolate for the full time-period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000. 

I’m worried about being told to isolate just before my holiday. Are there any insurers who cover this?

Yes, there are insurance policies that will cover your plans if you are told to self-isolate after contracting the virus, or if a member of your household tests positive. However, to make a successful claim, the cover must have been in place well ahead of the positive test result. 

“For example, you wouldn’t be able to display symptoms, test positive, buy cover, and then claim for trip cancellation,” explains Fiona Macrae, head of awareness initiative Travel Insurance Explained. “Cover should be in place from when you buy your trip.

“Most providers offer travellers cover for medical expenses should they fall ill with Covid while abroad and require emergency treatment. However, only a few providers will also cover the cost of any additional accommodation and transportation costs, in the event that tourists test positive for Covid while at their holiday destination and are legally required to isolate abroad. It is worth checking an insurer’s policy wording if this cover is of interest.”

There is also travel insurance available that covers travellers to cancel their trip if they are required to isolate due to testing positive for Covid or being in close contact with a household member who has tested positive. “However, this cover is not standard across the industry and will mostly be found on more premium policies,” advises Macrae. “Again, we would recommend checking the policy wordings to see if this is included in your policy as standard.”

I am fully vaccinated. Am I able to skip quarantine on my return from holiday?

No. Everyone who enters the UK must take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arrival and self isolate while they wait for their result. 

Those who are fully vaccinated may leave isolation when they receive their negative result. However, unvaccinated travellers must quarantine for a full ten days on their return to the UK, taking a PCR test on day two and another on day eight. 

The above applies to arrivals from all international destinations. 

On arrival in England, children aged 4 and under do not have to take any Covid travel tests. They must quarantine until their parent or guardian receives their day 2 test result back. 

Children aged 12 to 17 must take a Covid test in the 2 days before travel to England. Those aged 5 to 17 are treated as fully vaccinated: therefore, they must quarantine on arrival and take a PCR test on or before day 2.

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