The UK’s travel corridor list means Britons can jet off on holiday to select destinations deemed “safe” by the Government based on their current coronavirus levels. However, just because the list allows for quarantine-free travel, doesn’t necessarily mean holidays are the right idea for everyone according to an NHS doctor.
In fact, he warns that in some situations travel could be detrimental – even if it is to a country included on the list.
Dr Anshu Bhagat is an NHS GP and the founder of on-demand GP service GPDQ.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he revealed some problems that may arise for those planning a holiday and says Britons should ask themselves a set of questions before they head for the airport.
He explained: “Given that certain countries are now seeing increased numbers of COVID cases, local lockdowns and restrictions to travel are being implemented, one needs to ask themselves the following questions.”
The questions not only cover details about the region holidaymakers are planning on visiting, but also include specifics about their own health and wellbeing.
Naturally, the state of coronavirus figures in the destination country is vital.
Dr Bhagat said holidaymakers should be sure if “COVID-19 is spreading” in their holiday destination, and be sure of “the quarantine restrictions for travellers from the UK at your destination.”
It is advice that has been echoed by travel expert Lisa Minot.
Speaking to Sky News the travel pro advised: “I think the best thing I can suggest is that if you are going to book a holiday, look at the European Centre for Disease Control daily figures.
“They’ve produced these daily figures that tell you the number of cases per 100,000 in each country and the number of deaths per 100,000 in each country accumulative over the last 14 days.”
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Dr Bhagat also says it is important to be aware of “what healthcare systems are like where you were going” and to consider “how you would cope if you were ill”.
As well as becoming ill, Britons should also think about whether they would cope if they were forced into a sudden lockdown while abroad.
This has already happened to tourists in the early days of the pandemic when resorts and hotels in Tenerife were suddenly forced to lockdown after pockets of outbreaks emerged amongst tourists.
What’s more, nations including Spain and Italy are currently reimposing restrictions on certain tourist events such as bars, clubs and pool parties to curb the spread of the virus.
Health insurance is also key, as Dr Bhagat concludes not all insurance packages are equal.
“Will your health insurance cover you and bring you home?” he encourages holidaymakers to ask themselves.
When the virus was initially named a pandemic in March, many travel insurance providers are unable to support coronavirus related occurrences.
However, the industry has since adapted, and a significant number now cover emergency medical and repatriation claims related to the virus.
A growing proportion of providers are now selling “enhanced COVID-19 protection” policies which cover cancellations for COVID-19 related claims.
Along with considering implications while away, though, Dr Bhagat also says would-be passengers should turn their attention to their home too.
Britons should look at the infection rates in their local area and consider whether “COVID-1 is spreading in your local community.
He continued: “Are you or those you are travelling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? Individuals who have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should limit their travel.
“Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? If you get infected while travelling you can spread COVID-19 to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.”
Despite his warning though, Dr Bhagat does not necessarily think jetting off it a bad idea if all the correct precautions are taken.
When asked if travel is still safe, he explained: “There are many reasons why travel is integral for the individual person, therefore it’s hard to say one way or another.”
However, he says there is work still work to be done by travel providers.
“We talk about ‘the new normal’ in response to office working and socialising, and this too should be echoed for the travel sector,” he said.
“Whilst tests aren’t free at present, it should be deemed as an essential to travel, and should be encompassed in travel providers’ offerings; flights, accommodation, testing. “Individuals who fly need to see this as the new normal for travel essentials in the same way that insurance, SPF for hot countries, and a new holiday wardrobe already are.
“If you’re able to travel, you should be able to equip yourself and those around you with the tools to do it safely and it is on the travel providers to offer a service which encompasses this safe return.”
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