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How does the new ‘COVID-19 Winter Plan’ impact travel?

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The Government published its ‘COVID-19 Winter Plan’ this afternoon. You can see all 64 pages on the Government website here. Note that, until the legal text is published and approved by MPs, it is not clear what is advisory and what would constitute an offence.

I wanted to take a quick look at how this will impact travel. If you have concerns about gyms, shops, churches etc then you will need to study the document.

Coronavirus

These rules are expected to be in force until the Spring so it is important to be familiar with them.

Can I travel again?

Yes. Here is the key point. From 2nd December, there are no restrictions on domestic or international travel except as per the new tier system below.

(There never were restrictions on international travel, of course. You are not meant to leave your home for non-work, shopping or educational reasons, but travel per se is not banned except as a by-product of not leaving your home.)

Will UK hotels re-open?

It will depend on the tier level of the area to which you are travelling or where you live.

In Tier 1 and Tier 2, hotels can open.

In Tier 3, the situation continues as at present. Hotels must close to leisure guests but can open for business travellers.

The allocation of regions to different tiers will be published later in the week.

If you live in a Tier 3 area, the document states that you should not travel to a hotel in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area. Until we see the legislation we will not know if this is advisory or the law.

It is unlikely that you will be restricted from leaving the country if you live in a Tier 3 area. However, you may be banned from – for example – staying in a hotel at Heathrow if Heathrow is in Tier 2 and you live in Tier 3.

Will hotel bars and restaurants in Tier 1 and Tier 2 be restricted?

In Tier 2, a hotel bar would need to close unless it was restricted to serving alcohol with meals. Room service drinks are currently available for hotel stays so are likely to continue.

In both Tier 1 and Tier 2, bars and restaurants will need to close at 11pm with last orders taken by 10pm.

Will hotel executive lounges open?

It isn’t fully clear. As these are private ‘residents only’ facilities they operate under different rules. However, as the majority of lounges were already closed before the November restrictions began, it is difficult to see many reopening before the Spring.

Will hotel leisure facilities be open?

Gyms and swimming pools can open in ALL areas of the UK. Even a hotel in Tier 3 which is closed to leisure guests could open its gym and pool to the public.

United coronavirus transmission study mannequin

Can I travel in the UK with other people?

If you live in a Tier 3 area, you should not leave it. It is not clear if this is advisory or if it will be made a criminal offence.

For everyone else, you would not be able to share a hotel room in a Tier 2 area with anyone who was not in your immediate family or support bubble due to the ban on indoor mixing.

If you stayed in separate rooms, you would not be able to eat indoors with your other guests.

In Tier 1 areas a group of six would be allowed to visit a hotel, mix room allocations and eat as a group.

Hotels will be closed in Tier 3 areas for leisure purposes.

Is the hotel VAT reduction continuing?

Yes. Hotels in the UK will continue to pay just 5% VAT until 31st March 2021.

Was there an announcement on reduced quarantine for those returning from overseas?

No. Despite hints in the media, there was no announcement of the expected cut in the 14 day self-isolation period to five days, providing a negative test is taken on Day 5.

The full ‘COVID-19 Winter Plan’ is here.

Comments (159)

  • Heinztein says:

    Very disappointing to see the article and comments seizing on whether travel restrictions are ‘advisory’ [and therefore can be ignored to suit the whims of individuals] or whether they are law. Especially given the clear link between the movement of people and spread of Covid.

    • Andrew says:

      Then the government should have made it law

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Some people can travel safely between tiers. If you work from home and take advantage of the mass testing to be rolled out in tier 3 areas and get 2 negatives 5 days apart, and don’t leave the house in between, can you really argue that person isn’t safe to hop in their own car and travel to a tier 2 or 1 area to visit a family member outdoors with distancing? Sadly though if people don’t take precautions like these, and go out drinking en masse in the closest town with open pubs, we will need an enforceable restriction.

      • memesweeper says:

        ‘Sadly though if people don’t take precautions like these, and go out drinking en masse in the closest town with open pubs, we will need an enforceable restriction.’

        That’s what happened in a lot of restaurants near, but outside, Essex a few weeks ago. Suddenly swamped with interlopers from over the border in the evening.

      • Anna says:

        Absolutely – meeting your parents in a park for a socially distanced coffee and a chat (and to hand over presents because you’re not going to put them at risk by crowding into their home over Xmas just because Boris says you can), is totally different from doing the bit in the brackets. It’s so annoying when people start making moral judgements without knowing the full circumstances.

        • Lady London says:

          I’ve told Mum to leave any presents outside for at least 24hrs ditto any supermarket shopping. Wash hands before and after handling either.

          If I buy anything in a supermarket that I’ve put in a bag, I put another bag on the outside then throw away the outer bag safely when I get home ( and leave the stuff i the car or on the porch for 24hrs).

          Maybe overkill but the virus probably survives longer in this cold weather.

          Boris’s new winter strategy definitely accepts a higher number of infections.

    • Ian says:

      The travel restrictions are guidance and not Regulation (which would be legally enforceable). If the government wanted to legally restrict travel between areas, it could easily make it Regulation, but it has chosen not to. On that basis, it’s perfectly proper for people to make their own judgements….that’s exactly what guidance is for.

      • Andrew says:

        Well said Ian

      • Larro says:

        I’m more confused now as the legislation website say’s it is a ‘Regulation’ rather than a guidance.
        https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1200/part/2/made?view=plain
        We have International secondees in the London office wanting to go home for Xmas after 2nd Dec, but the company is unsure whether or not this is classed as business travel (they work in the UK) or personal travel (seconded from Tokyo and Japanese passport holders who are returning home to family for a few weeks) Thoughts?

      • Heinztein says:

        In normal circumstances I would agree with you but what you say ignores the political reasons for not making this guidance into law (Tory back bench annoyance) and why the guidance is in place in the first place (to tackle a national crisis that has killed tens of thousands and decimated the economy and pensions of a great many more).

        There is a moral imperative right now to follow guidance given the (in many cases inextricable) link between guidance not being followed and illness / death. The rhetoric in this article and a great many of the comments sadly does not reflect this – rather guidance seems to be a green light to do whatever one wants regardless of the possible consequences for others.

        • Brian says:

          You don’t have to be Einstein to realise that it is the measures (which are out of all proportion to the actual disease) are the thing that has decimated the economy. Try to look at the actual facts rather than be misled by the media headlines fed to them by an incompetent government.

          • Heinztein says:

            Enjoyed the Einstein reference!

            So are you saying that the measures taken to date have had no impact on the UK covid death rate (and so we shouldn’t have bothered incurring the associated economic consequences); or are you saying that the measures have been effective but the economic damage that has been incurred has not been a price worth paying for the lives that were saved? Or something else?

          • Brian says:

            @Heinztein What I’m saying (and it is of course just my view of things) is that the actual disease is not as bad as it’s made out to be. That’s not to say that people aren’t getting ill and dying – they are. But the figures we are given are not transparent. Take the deaths figures: everybody who dies within 28 days of a positive Covid test counts as a Covid death, regardless of other factors. The same ‘reasoning’ is applied to hospitalisations: all those people we hear of in hospital with Covid – they include ALL patients who have tested positive within the previous 28 days. You don’t have to be a genius to realise that the true number of deaths caused BY Covid is going to be significantly lower, or that the true number of people in hospital BECAUSE OF Covid is going to be significantly lower. Of course, the government is fixated on the idea of making everybody believe that Covid-19 is the worst thing since unsliced bread, so of course it fits into their narrative to make the figures as bad as possible. But why not just tell us the truth? Surely it must be possibly by now to determine how many people have died OF Covid or are in hospital being treated for Covid. Remember that it was worse before August – then, there wasn’t even a limit of 28 days.

            Things aren’t helped by the incompetent handling of the whole affair, the haphazard application of half-baked measures, the constant chopping and changing.

            The problem is that people somehow think that the government and their expert advisors must be right in everything, and therefore we have a moral obligation to follow the guidance, as you yourself said. Where were these people when the same government and its expert advisors were telling us that Brexit was the best thing for the country? I’m not for or against Brexit, but I find it amusing that everybody was happy to scorn the so-called expert advice given us then, but is desperate to follow the so-called expert advice now. Surely, a bit of rational thinking is called for – taking into account the true facts.

          • Jonathan says:

            The whole die within 28 days argument espoused by the conspiracy theorists is utter tosh.

            Yes the initial figures released by ONS are a simple count of anyone who had a positive test in the 28 days prior to death as that is the quickest figure to produce but In the oft quoted “hit by a bus” argument then Covid would not figure on the death certificate in Part 1 a, b or c which are the medical causes of death as determined by an attending doctor or pathologist.

            Data from death certificates is collected & released at a later date & is in fact higher than the initial figures as a lot of people actually die more than 28 days later (particularly the younger, healthier cohort).

            You can also look at the excess deaths compared to previous years & again we’re running much higher than average so whichever way you try and spin it significant numbers are dying.

            Yes, there’s an argument about the economic issues lockdown causes but fundamentally it’s a respiratory virus so needs close contact to spread & reducing close contact reduces the spread.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Johnathan Excess deaths are due to COVID AND the effect of the measures being taken over the past 9 months.

            People stopped coming forward for suspected heart issues, strokes, cancers etc etc due to fear of getting COVID, when they are likely to die of their other issue, or to not overwhelm the NHS.

            Blame COVID for it all but it’s not COVID that decreed lockdowns, shutting down NHS services or putting out stories that whipped up fear.

    • Anna says:

      https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3181
      Except 70% of infections are due to household transmission …

    • B says:

      “Especially given the clear link between the movement of people and spread of Covid.”, could you expand on this please? Your source for this conclusion would be helpful. I haven’t seen any reasonable correlation between international travel and covid rates. Nor have I seen any reasonable correlation between leisure activities and covid rates. Covid seems to spread through communities, multi-generational households, house parties and weddings etc.

      Countries that have seen success in limiting the spread did so by track and trace systems that simply wouldn’t work in our society, South Korea is a good example.

      • Lady London says:

        The proof that travel increases the disease is clear using New Zealand as a pure example. They have better track and trace than the UK – which is laughable really – and every case they’ve had since closing their border has been traced to someone travelling from overseas.

        So don’t tell me travel doesn’t spread it.

        • Brian says:

          Why is it laughable that a country with a population much smaller than the UK should have better track and trace?

          • Lady London says:

            Good point @Brian. I suppose I was just thinking NZ is a more relaxed society, by far, than Asia and has fewer resources than the UK and yet they’ve got it working.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          @LL of course it CAME from abroad but NZ and Aus have very different strategies to Europe.

          Aus + NZ took a path which meant local eradication through tough lockdowns with a very low number of cases and effectively completely closing borders.

          Europe has tried to flatten the spread but not eradicate it completely therefore it is spreading within the community without any travel. Is travel contributing more than local transmission? Not likely when there are 30-50k cases a day in the UK.

        • B says:

          I didn’t claim that “travel doesn’t spread it”. I made the point, perhaps without enough context, that once the virus has taken hold there is no evidence that closing the borders has any effect.

          New Zealand and Australia are very different to here, we depend on too many imports to close the border. We have a population density far higher than New Zealand, and a large portion of the population that don’t even speak the language to understand the rules they are supposed to be following.

          This country, sadly, is filled with people who have very little regard for rules or sense of community spirit. Overlay the covid map to population density, crime figures, and a bunch of other metrics and its not too much of a stretch to suggest why we have a bigger problem than the Kiwis.

          • Lady London says:

            Actually @B I agree with you about the map. Political correctness also has a bit to do with some particular issues perhaps not being stated starkly too. As that would open up other cans of worms.

      • Heinztein says:

        There have been several studies which identify that the use of cordon sanitaires has slowed or stopped the spread of the virus.

        How do you think the virus got to the UK and into people’s homes if not by international travel and by socialising domestically outside of the home?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Europe and USA are well past this point.

          • Lady London says:

            We are an island state though and had an enormous advantage in that at thr beginning if we’d closed down then. But it seems the government made a deliberate decision to ignore all the planes that were landing each day from plague-ridden countries including especially New York.

          • B says:

            @Lady London I agree on both counts. The media can’t possibly delve deeper into where and how covid is spreading as it will offend someone.

            And yes, early in the pandemic we should have done so much more. I was very much pro lockdown at the beginning and I think it came weeks too late, but now my interpretation of the evidence is different. I think that 1. the virus isn’t as dangerous as it used to be. 2. The lockdowns now are ineffective (for many reasons, mostly my earlier point), 3. the harm caused by the lockdown is worse than the virus by any objective measure that I can find (cancer screening, poverty, mental health, economic impact)

          • Lady London says:

            +1 on your last comment @B

            Only the vulnerable should be staying out of circulation now, the rest of us should be back working including most businesses

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @LL we are an island state that relies on international trade and freedom of movement.

            We’ve built up an economy which relies on free movement of people between certain countries to function.

            If the beginning was in March when we locked down it was already futile to stop planes arriving as it was spready +100k a day by then.

  • Rob says:

    A minor point but my understanding is that current restrictions will still be in place on the 2nd December the new ones coming in on 3rd

    • Andrew says:

      Correct

    • Tracey says:

      I think that was the original intention, but the government has spoken to often of restrictions being lifted on 2 December that they have been forced to change it to avoid embarrassing themselves (again).

      • abc says:

        The current regulations are in place until the end of 2 December. The government would have to change these regulations if they want to end the restrictions a day earlier. Having to do that seems more embarrassing to me, then clarifying that new Tiers start on 3 December (?). The current language on the government website is quite confusing as it sometimes states that the new rules start on 2 December and sometimes that the old ones run until 2 December and no clarification on which time.

  • meta says:

    @Rhys London case rates are rising whereas in Birmingham they are falling (not Manchester). The number of cases is just one of the variables that they will look at when placing certain area into Tier 3.

    • Andrew says:

      Agree. And remember that Sadiq pushed for a higher tier previously – so he clearly follows a cautious rather than a bullish approach especially as furlough is fully available now.

      • TomH says:

        Tiers will no longer be negotiated but imposed, so Khan’s preference may not matter either way

    • Harry T says:

      Cases in Newcastle were dropping before the lockdown!

  • roberto says:

    If London does get to tier 3 do the hotels at Heathrow have to close? If so there will be lots of international travelers forced to seek accommodation elsewhere and that hardly seem sensible.

  • Wollhouse says:

    Personally, I’m worried about the stance from the Qantas CEO stating they will require passengers to show they have been vaccinated before they will accept them. I am NOT anti-vax, but I am anti putting anything into my body that I don’t feel has had an adequate test/life cycle. My elderly parents live in the USA and my long held concern has been vaccinations via the back door; ie not mandatory but “mandatory” if you want to travel. I’m simply not comfortable with the speed this vaccine is possibly going to hit the market. Definitely short circuited the normal timelines.

    • Ken says:

      I think it’s great airlines saying no vaccination no travel.
      I won’t want to be sitting next to a load of herd immunity free loaders.

      This is not much different than people not getting their precious kids the MMR jab

      • PerkyPat says:

        Absolutely spot on. If you choose not to be vaccinated, then you are choosing not to fly. Rights and responsibilities.

    • memesweeper says:

      ‘I am NOT anti-vax, but I am anti putting anything into my body that I don’t feel has had an adequate test/life cycle.’

      Then don’t fly. Leave the seats and limited vaccination does for the rest of us.

      • Anna says:

        Well yes, and airlines are private business concerns which can set whatever restrictions they like. It does beg the question, how do they expect families to travel though, when children aren’t going to be offered the vaccine (I’m just curious about this, not judging the airline).

    • Craig says:

      Do we actually think it will only be the airlines requiring a vaccination certificate? I’m fairly certain that once it’s widely available it will become an entry requirement for certain countries in the same way Yellow Fever is.

      • Harry T says:

        I can see something like that happening, Craig.

        • Rob says:

          You’ll need it to apply for a job, yet alone leave the UK, unless the Government legislates to make it illegal to discriminate on the back of it.

          For example … it would be logical for HfP to refuse to employ someone who didn’t have a vaccination certificate because it would impact their ability to under reviews outside the UK.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            So many assumptions taking place …

            Vaccines should be for those that need them GLOBALLY before workplaces and airlines start making up rules about weather employees must have a vaccine.

            Not hiring someone on the basis they won’t take a vaccine will already be against their rights and considered discrimination you don’t have free vend on their medical history. not taking the COVID vaccine is the same as not having had the MMR, Flu if over 65 etc etc

      • Michael C says:

        I’m 100% sure, Craig: a small clip-in cert. with date & stamps.

        • Lady London says:

          I used to carry a small yellow booklet around with each vaccination marked in it.

          • Bagoly says:

            Yes, I came across my yellow booklet last week in the safe 🙂
            For my own purposes I now track on a spreadsheet.

      • Nick_C says:

        I do hope so.

        Although I wonder if a vaccination certificate is enough. Ideally, people who are vaccinated should be tested (for antibodies?) some time after to know whether or not the vaccine has worked.

        Vaccination might also become an insurance requirement.

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          It already is…my travel insurance states no cover if you’ve not had the required vaccinations etc. Put us in a dilemma for our South America trip
          (long since cancelled) as we ‘needed ‘ Yellow Fever for travelling between Peru to Ecuador. But GP advice, research and pharmacy advice advised against it due to age ( huh, I’m still young at heart!) and known potential side effects.Plus, I’d read that the exemption certificate wasn’t always recognised at the border.
          I’ve still got rather tatty, ancient certificates from all vaccinations of typhoid ,cholera, Hep a,B and god knows what else from living in the far east as a child in the 50s and 60s. and more recent travelling. Makes giving blood a right pain as I’m always tested for Malaria ( always -ve) before each donation. So a Covid certificate would be another one for the collection!

    • Jonathan says:

      Don’t have the time to rewrite my long post from the other week but the vaccines have been through the same Phase 1/2/3 trials as previous vaccines with the same number of participants. You can’t do a cut down phase 3 trial as the numbers of participants are determined by statistical calculations not the whim of the drug companies.

      What has changed is the speed the vaccines have progressed from drawing board to production which has nothing to do with cutting corners rather the removal of the stop start nature of normal vaccine development due to commercial reasons. These were removed due to governments essentially underwriting the development costs, particularly for the Oxford vaccine.

      Collectively over 100,000 people have been involved in trials for the main 3 vaccines with no significant side effects & the chances of long term side effects to a vaccine are tiny.

      If everyone said they wanted a longer track record then there would be no track record so perfectly fair in my eyes to differentiate between those who have been vaccinated and those that haven’t.

      • Rob says:

        I saw a big article on this the other week. The reason it takes 10 years to develop a drug is not safety, it’s money. You spend nine of the 10 years raising the money for each level of trial and one year doing the trials. This has just cut out the 9 years of fund raising.

        • marcw says:

          That’s indeed how science works nowadays. Most of the time you write grants to fund your research, rather than being in the lab/pc doing experiments/modelling.

      • marcw says:

        And indeed the RNA vaccines have been in development for already 10 years. COVID19 is actually the very first opportunity these RNA vaccines have.

        If it’s a success, expect several more interesting vaccines to emerge in the next decade… as in the last 20 years there hasn’t been any revolutionary new vaccine.

        • Bagoly says:

          and the anti-vaxxers caused some probably perfectly safe ones to be withdrawn, E.g. for Lyme disease. I am certainly hoping that we do get a Lyme vaccine soon.

    • Harry T says:

      I’m probably getting a covid vaccine in December or January, and I have no concerns. I’m more concerned that if people with considerable less understanding of the disease and vaccines than Oxford scientists decide to wait before taking the vaccine, many more people will die and the economy will be even more damaged.

    • ChrisW says:

      Don’t fly until there has been an adequate test/life cycle then.

      Easy.

    • B says:

      I’m curious what you would consider “adequate”, and on what expertise you have to back that opinion. I happen to think that the scientists and regulators behind this vaccine probably know more about the safety, implications, risk and effectiveness than I do. My medical knowledge consists of a biology GCSE, so I have little choice than to conclude that the people saying that its safe do so from a more informed perspective than I could argue that it may be unsafe

    • Lady London says:

      +1 @wollhouse

      look at the history of vaccines and medications like Vioxx that have been rushed out in the past decade or two on mercola dot com if you want to see how a qualified medical and alternative medicine practicioner was 5 years ahead of drugs and vaccinations that fulfilled your prediction @Wollhouse. Mercola was first, long ago, with Vitamin D3 too

      • Brian says:

        Or look at what happened with the Swine Flu vaccine developed by GSK that turned out, a couple of years down the line, to be linked to narcolepsy and was withdrawn from the market. Of course, that was too late for those people who were already affected. Governments across Europe have had to pay out millions in compensation. Because of course they signed (and have signed this time for Covid vaccines) liability waivers, so that they take on the liability rather than the pharmaceutical companies involved.

        I read that the volunteers being used for the Covid vaccine trials will be monitored for two years. Surely, therefore, that should be the minimum time allowed before the vaccines are rolled out to the general public. After all, not all side-effects become obvious immediately – and don’t forget that at least one of the vaccines is using a new approach.

        • Rhys says:

          So instead of rolling out a life saving vaccine that will save thousands of lives, we should instead wait on the vaccine for 2 years and then decide? What happens if adverse reactions are only discovered 5 years down the line, or are so rare that you need a sample size larger than the 30,000 odd that have trialled the vaccine so far?

          The swine flu vaccine was linked to 1 case of narcolepsy per 500,000 vaccinated. You need to vaccinate that many people in the first place to even discover those sorts of consequences! This is why post-licensing Phase 4 clinical trials exist, to look for any issues that can’t be spotted by smaller, pre-sale trials.

          It’s not as simple as saying that a vaccine could have adverse effects that we don’t know about. You have to compare it to the adverse effects that we DO know about, ie. the 1.4million Covid deaths so far.

          Every medicine we take involves a certain element of risk. What if you’re the 1 in 5 million that has an adverse reaction to that thing? It doesn’t matter how many people have taken it previously with no adverse symptoms if you’re the outlier!

          • B says:

            Risk is exactly the point here, Rhys is right. For anyone capable of rational thought, concluding that vaccines are too risky is valid only if you also consider boiling a kettle too risky and never leave the house.

            Chance of death in a given year on the roads in the UK: around 1 in 20,000
            Chance of death on the roads over a lifetime in the UK: around 1 in 300.
            Chance of death from a vaccine: Immeasurably small that it can’t be quantified

            (Sources used: WHO, CDC, NSC, ONS. Sources ignored: Some idiot with a facebook account)

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Either way taking or not taking a vaccine should be a personal choice accompanied with medical advice.

          • Brian says:

            @Rhys – I do think it’s unwise to roll it out so soon, yes (and it would be immoral and irresponsible to make it mandatory, even if only via backdoor methods). And let’s be a bit more realistic here – it’s not a ‘life-saving vaccine that will save thousands of lives’ – we don’t know that. It has potential, that’s all. Take the Pfizer vaccine – 44,000 volunteers, half with the vaccine, half without. They waited till they had 94 cases and then evaluated those cases to see how many had had the vaccine. That’s how they got their 90% efficacy rate. 90% sounds great, but think about it – more than 21,900 people without the vaccine didn’t get Covid. We have no idea how much exposure each of those people had, we don’t know about the strength of their immune systems, etc. In other words, there are so many factors involves that using 94 cases as a means of claiming 90% efficacy may be statistically correct, but is otherwise fairly worthless.

            @B – I agree with your point about risk. But the same reasoning can be applied to Covid. The risk of catching it is very low – the risk of dying from it is extremely low. So why would you factor that into your behaviour, unless you were the sort of person who considered boiling a kettle too risky and never left the house? As the Pfizer test showed, 94 of the 44,000 volunteers contracted Covid. Presumably that’s a fairly representative rate of infection. Presumably very few of those 94 actually developed serious complications. Sounds like very low risk to me – certainly, not risky enough to make me worry about it.

            Ultimately, I think that each person should be left to choose themselves whether to take a vaccine – at least they only have themselves to blame if they do (and have side-effects) or don’t (and get Covid).

          • Rhys says:

            You make it sound as if scientists have never tested the efficacy of a vaccine before! But we have been developing vaccines for 140 years and I assume the scientists running these trials haven’t just thrown out decades of best practise out of the window 🙂

            You’re right that a large portion of the people in the trial who didn’t get the vaccine also didn’t get symptoms of Covid, but carefully avoid the fact that pretty much all the places where trials are taking place have faced or are still facing restrictions on day to day life. Transmission would obviously be a lot different if we were going about our daily lives (as we can see from rising infection rates when we do). The whole point of the vaccine is to be able to end restrictions!

            I agree that taking the vaccine should be a personal choice, but I don’t also see that anyone who doesn’t take it should then be allowed to do what they want willy nilly. I know if I were PM or president or chancellor that I would want to see vaccination in people arriving to my country as a means of protecting my own population.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Rhys there’s no evidence to suggest any of the vaccines will protect anyone but the person who had had the vaccine.

          • Alan says:

            Totally agree, Rhys.

        • Jonathan says:

          Funny how the incidence of narcolepsy was no higher in Spain, Holland etc where the very same vaccine was given or that Taiwan had a spike at the same time despite not using the vaccine.

          Also interesting that Sweden announced a compensation scheme for the swine flu vaccine when there was a very low incidence that suddenly then spiked. The vaccine was withdrawn as swine flu had essentially faded away anyway.

          Need to look beyond the headlines at the actual data before making such statements.

      • B says:

        Mercola is a dangerous idiot, pandering to the modern day anti-vaxx movement. He isn’t a medical doctor, he’s an osteopath and he has as many relevant qualifications to comment on epidemiology as I do.

        His so-called ‘timeline’ showing when he was right is just a list of medicines that have side effects. He’s spent his life arguing against medicine, a broken clock will be correct twice per day..

        He has also decided to have an opinion on 5G, I think that says it all.

        This sort of nonsense upsets upsets me, it is all just clickbait to be shared so someone can earn ad revenue on a blog somewhere. It kills people.

        ‘Alternative Medicine’, should it work, is called ‘Medicine’.

        • Lady London says:

          He is actually a qualified medical doctor. He’s been years ahead on so many things. Of course some of his stuff is a bit :out there: but his hit rate is very high over a long period.

          • Bagoly says:

            IDFPR dot com shows his certified speciality as “Family Practice and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment”.
            His own website includes “Osteopathic” in both of the qualifications which mention “Family Practice” and “General Practitioners”.
            i.e. in UK terms he is an Osteopath.
            In Illinois/USA an osteopath is within the definition of “Physician and Surgeon”.

            In the UK osteopathy is a health profession regulated by UK law; but osteopaths are generally not included in the definition of Doctor.

          • PerkyPat says:

            ‘In 2020, Mercola claimed that inhaling 0.5-3% hydrogen peroxide solution using a nebulizer could prevent or cure COVID-19’.

            From Wiki. Yes, he’s a dangerous loon.

          • Rhys says:

            Or that HIV isn’t the cause of AIDS….

        • Alan says:

          If he uses alternative medicine and talks about 5G then he sounds like a quack to me…

  • Ben says:

    Am I right in thinking there are zero destinations we (people from England) can visit for a weekend break (wifes 40th) without needing a test or quaratine on either side.
    I looked at all the european destinations last night and couldnt find a single one that worked.

    • Anna says:

      I’m going with London – unless London goes into Tier 3 and all the hotels have to shut! OH is a working Xmas and NY and deserves a few socially distanced nights in a posh hotel with our household bubble. It seems to be a better bet than the rest of the UK and Europe. If you live in London, not so much though!

      • Ben says:

        Hi Anna,
        Yes, I had the same thought, so booked a nice Mayfair hotel for us, but we live in London so although a nice, special hotel I was thinking of something further afield but I really cant find another option. May end up with a staycation after all.

      • Michael C says:

        Yep, us too! Just waiting to see what the lounge/bar freebies are at a couple of places once the new rules are out.

    • Tracey says:

      Would Gibraltar qualify?

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Gibraltar, and that’s about it. But even then, with reduced schedules it might not work for you.

      • Sandgrounder says:

        Tracey, you are just too fast for me 🙂

      • Ben says:

        And it shows, Fri – Mon next weekend they want almost £1k each in Eco.
        Thanks anyway guys

        • Anna says:

          Doesn’t Gibraltar have only about 3 hotels?! Or are people thinking they are going to sneak in and out of Spain?

          • Jonathan says:

            If you’ve ever been to Gibraltar then the idea of sneaking in & out of Spain even in normal times would make you chuckle!

            My brother in law works out there & the border is very much closed apart from people travelling in for work. You need a Spanish (showing residency in Andalusia) or Gibraltarian ID card to cross the border in either direction.

          • Anna says:

            Yes I’ve been to Gibraltar several times – surprising amount of things to do and see for such a small place!

          • Anna says:

            Though in “normal” times I have just walked across the border without being challenged.

        • Lady London says:

          oddly though you might still find avios seats esp inC

        • Sandgrounder says:

          Easyjet is a lot cheaper if you can do Thurs to Sun, Wizz is cheaper again if you can wait a week for Fri-Mon.

  • GIJoe says:

    Any recoomendations in London on where to get a quick and not ripoff priced PCR test?

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Family of four to Spain and the Canaries:

    £150 x 4 for the outbound test, £150 x 4 for the inbound. That’s £1200 just for the tests!

    ps Try to find a Boots one in Scotland – appointments almost all gone 27 days in advance. And the “pick up from a chemist” one, none left in Glasgow so wife heading to Edinburgh to get one.

    So will there even be capacity in the system? If you are booked for Xmas, get your tests ordered now.

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Mind you, Ryanair flights are only 30-odd quid, so that offsets the test fees!

    • Anna says:

      Colin, I am sure someone posted on here the other day that you can have your test done on arrival, or at your accommodation, much cheaper than they do it here.

      But yes, the cost is going to put off the majority of ordinary leisure travellers.

      • Andy says:

        Used to be the case in Tenerife but changed a few days ago. Mainland Spain changes pretty soon. You have to have a negative test result no later than 72 hours before entering the country. I suspect most airlines would check you have one before letting you board.
        Sofitel are doing a great deal. Test and rest. Sample 1 night stay for 2 with 2 test results delivered next morning for £239.

      • Yuff says:

        Personally I would not want to be arriving and having a test just in case one of the travelling party is asymptomatic.
        £1200 in tests just to get in is ridiculous though, I’m sure this will change when places realise cheaper tests at scale are cheaper and easier

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Hopefully the lateral flow tests which are quicker and easier begin to be accepted the cost and hassle will be hugely reduced.

          I believe the test and release process will allow it.

    • Colin MacKinn says:

      OK< Mrs MacK back from her 48 hour test through Medicspot.

      They charge £150 (maybe plus another £30 to have your passport number on the form) and you can pre-order the kit on their website for collection (and drop-off) at one of their "hub" chemists.

      Online said kit was sold out in Glasgow, so she went to the Edinburgh one and collected kit from chemist, sat in car, did the swab and then filled out some forms and handed it back into the chemist just before the 2pm cut-off. Result is due by 11pm tomorrow, just in time for a 6am Ryanair flight!

      If you go down this route, ideally take a laptop with you. First, take a note of the order number – it is a hash followed by four digits and is on the original order confirmation.

      Then you go to their website and fill in a form. This is separate from the paperwork with the test swab. Hence suggesting you take a laptop with you! Or phone your spouse!  When it asks for the order number you don't put in the hash!

      On the online form you also fill in the time you took the swab, this is the time from which the 72 hours starts ticking. That's why wife sat in the car outside the chemist at 1:30 to do the test so as she'd meet the 2pm cut-off.

      Hopefully, the result will arrive "as guaranteed" before 11pm tomorrow!

      If you decide to use them, this code gives me a tenner: http://medicspot.refr.cc/martab

      Sorry, it doesn't give you anything off ;-(

      • Anna says:

        I’m not entirely comfortable with a medical provider who offers financial incentives to get people to recommend them!

      • CoronaJuice says:

        So has she left her own council area to do this?