Switzerland is lifting its 10-day quarantine requirement for British travellers.
The country imposed the measure on those entering from the UK, plus the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi, on 27 November in response to the threat of the omicron variant.
But from tomorrow, officials have announced that all destinations will be removed from its quarantine list.
Instead, international arrivals will face stricter testing rules, required to take a PCR or rapid antigen test between the fourth and seventh day after arrival, in addition to presenting a negative PCR upon entry.
In other travel news, Germany has imposed a lockdown on all unvaccinated residents, with leaders in discussions about making vaccination mandatory by February.
Follow the latest travel news below:
Change to US rules will come in from Monday, Foreign Office confirms
The change to US travel rules – which means visitors must take a Covid test within the 24 hours before departure, rather than 72 hours – will come into effect from next Monday, the Foreign Office has confirmed.
The update to the FCDO website says: “From 6 December 2021, before boarding a flight to the USA, all passengers – regardless of vaccination status – are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than one day before travel.
“All air passengers to the USA are also required to provide contact information to their airlines before boarding.
“You should check with your airline before you travel for more details. Full requirements for pre-travel testing can be found on the CDC website.
“Children under 2 years old do not need to test.”
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 16:51
Many US states’ Covid cases are at a 10-month high, says data analyst
Many US states are seeing a spike in Covid cases, with some at a 10 or 11 month high, with the highest case figures since January or February.
Data analyst Tim White, who closely follows weekly Covid-19 data from countries around the world in order to give insight to his followers and travel fans, tweeted:
“USA, after the Thanksgiving pause, is playing catch up and it is now being battered again by the Covid-19 data.
“Over 120,000 new cases overnight, up 50% on a week ago. The previous day over 130k.”
“So many states in USA are at 10-11 month highs, while the most vaccinated state, little Vermont, posted an all time high 624 new Covid-19 cases,” he continued.
“New York has been over 10,000 the last few days, highest levels since January. Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio the same.”
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 15:23
Switzerland removes quarantine requirement for all visitors
Switzerland has announced it will remove the 10-day quarantine requirement for British travellers, as well as arrivals from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi.
The country introduced the measure on 27 November in response to fears around the spread of the new omicron coronavirus variant.
However, less than a week later, officials have stated that the self-isolation period will be lifted for all arrivals from 6 December.
Helen Coffey3 December 2021 14:45
Can I travel to the US and what are the testing requirements?
The US reopened to the world on 8 November – albeit just to fully vaccinated travellers – after closing its borders for almost 20 months from the start of the pandemic.
Now, less than a month later, the Biden Administration is adding to its entry rules for travellers in response to the emergence of the omicron variant of Covid-19, which has so far been detected in more than 20 countries around the world, including the UK.
This week has seen a slow trickle of information about the US’s intended rule changes, which will come into force on 6 December.
So is it safe to book a winter break or holiday to the US at the moment?
Read our full travel explainer for all the latest rules:
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 14:23
France confirms testing required for non-EU travellers over 12 from Saturday
A French government decree has confirmed that France, like several other countries, is increasing its travel testing requirements in the days ahead.
“Any person of twelve years or more wishing to travel to the national territory from a foreign country must be provided with the result of a screening test or examination carried out less than 48 hours before the trip,” reads a decree from the French government.
The decree, published on 2 December, outlines that travellers from EU member states (as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland) can enter France with proof of vaccination or a recovery certificate, as before.
Here’s everything we know about the change to French travel rules:
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 13:28
USA tops list of dream Christmas and New Year breaks
The US is the top choice for a dream festive holiday this year, according to a survey by ETIAS.com.
The information website for the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa polled over 2,000 Britons about where they’d most like to go over Christmas and New Year, and found that the US was most popular, with 18 per cent of respondents keen to fly over the pond for a winter break.
Next most popular was Spain, at just under 16 per cent, then Italy at 12 per cent.
Spain also topped the list for countries people most want to travel to in 2022, with 13 per cent of those surveyed wanting to go there.
Next most popular for a 2022 jaunt were the USA and Greece, at seven per cent each.
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 12:24
Ireland tightens its travel rules from Sunday – everything you need to know
With countries around the world adjusting entry rules and travel testing requirements in the face of the omicron variant, Ireland has announced its own rule changes for visitors.
Those from Great Britain may still enter the country, but the required paperwork is set to increase.
The Irish government announced on Thursday that it would be requiring a negative test result from all travellers from abroad, regardless of vaccination status – first setting the intended date change as 3 December, then pushing it back to 5 December.
Here’s everything we know so far.
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 12:07
Blanket travel bans ‘attack global solidarity’, says WHO
Blanket travel bans “attack global solidarity” and “will not prevent the international spread” of the omicron coronavirus variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Matshidiso Moeti, said: “Covid-19 constantly exploits our divisions. We will only get the better of the virus if we work together for solutions.”
He added that blanket bans “place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods” while not stemming the spread of the virus.
WHO officials have praised South Africa and Botswana’s actions around the omicron variant, saying that the countries should be applauded, not sanctioned.
“The speed and transparency of the South African and Botswana governments in informing the world of the new variant is to be commended,” said Moeti.
Helen Coffey3 December 2021 10:41
Ireland testing rule delayed until Sunday, sources say
Ireland’s government have reportedly delayed the change in rules that will require a negative PCR or antigen test result from all arrivals until Sunday 5 December.
The change was supposed to come in today, but an Aer Lingus spokesperson told RTÉ News that the government informed airline bosses that it will be delayed for 48 hours, while RTÉ reporter Paul Cunningham tweeted about an update from a “senior government source”.
Meanwhile, some Ryanair passengers received a customer service text message saying the requirement for a test result had been delayed until Sunday.
The delay was reportedly caused by legislation not being signed yesterday, as planned.
Many travellers have already booked and paid for their pre-travel tests to meet the requirements, which were announced as coming in today.
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 09:53
Travellers to US will have to take test within 24 hours of departure
The US is tightening its testing requirements for incoming tourists from early next week, according to a statement from the White House.
As part of the stricter measures, travellers to the US must take a Covid test within the 24 hours prior to departure, rather than the current window of 72 hours.
The change, which is designed to help contain the spread of the recently identified omicron variant, will come in from “early next week”, according to the statement.
“This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the omicron variant,” reads the statement from the Biden Administration.
“The President will announce additional steps to strengthen the safety of international travel as we face this new threat – just as we have faced those that have come before it.”
International travellers are currently only allowed into the States if they have received a full course of an approved Covid-19 vaccine.
Lucy Thackray3 December 2021 09:44