Two key scientists warned that it would be “too early” to finish the PCR test for overseas travel after the government announced the move on Friday.
A major overhaul of travel rules has destroyed the list of amber countries, and it has been said that fully jabed UK travelers no longer have to pay for PCR tests when they return to the UK. Instead, you need cheaper immunochromatography.
Travel industry groups hope to help the sector recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus by eliminating PCR requirements, making vacations easier and cheaper.
However, Professor Linda Bauld, a public health expert at the University of Edinburgh, said she had “concerns” about the decision to ax the test.
“Since immunochromatography is almost sensitive and non-specific, it can miss infections, which can contribute to future rises,” she said.
“Second, the lack of PCR tests not only sequence these positive samples to inform UK intelligence about mutant and viral changes, but also like colleagues involved in genomics. It means we can’t contribute to the global effort to identify variants, “she said.
Genome sequencing is where scientists analyze the types of coronavirus detected in the test. This allows you to map how the virus evolves and mutates and identify new variants.
“My preference is that we are still continuing [PCR testing] But I recognize that there are logistical concerns about costs and all sorts of things. But from a purely public health scientific point of view, it seems premature to abandon travelers with a series of positive tests, “she said.
Professor Bold acknowledged that vacations abroad and family ties helped with mental health, but warned that the pandemic was not over.
“Globally, this pandemic is still rampant in many parts of the world, and I think we need to recognize the scientific contribution to knowing what the virus is doing and where it is. I think we need to balance these two things back to normal so that we can continue to monitor and support the global effort to go through this current and future stage of the pandemic. “
One of Scotland’s leading epidemiologists has also criticized the Scottish government’s decision to abolish PCR testing for British travelers, while retaining the requirements.
Professor Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, warns: I was sitting. “
“And secondly, to allow us to control, keep the numbers as low as possible and catch the positive cases of trying to put pressure on the NHS,” she told the BBC. ..
The professor added: “We were looking at the number of people who arrived in the UK yesterday, so it’s important to continue testing. Again, these are people who need to take a negative cross-flow test before flying. – Completely After vaccination, about 400 people have tested positive and about 1,000 have been tested positive without vaccination.
“If we haven’t tested the people coming in, they won’t even know they need to be positive and quarantined, and sequence them to see if new variants come in. You can’t even do it. The main thing we’re worried about entering winter. “
In the new travel plan, the green, amber and red list traffic lights will be replaced with a two-tier travel system from October 4th. In a significant simplification, it consists of a Red List and “other areas” of low-risk destinations that require a single immunochromatography.
From the end of October, the expensive PCR test will be abolished in favor of the lateral flow of the double jab, which costs about £ 30, and from October 4, the pre-departure test will be abolished.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people face more stringent restrictions, including pre-departure testing and two PCR tests on days 2 and 8. Also, unless you use a “test to release” scheme to shorten quarantine, you should quarantine for 10 days.
Eight countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives, have been removed from the government’s Red List for international travel.
Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will also be removed from the strictest level of changes that will take effect at 4 am on Wednesday, September 22nd.
However, some adventure travel groups have warned that the change to the Red List is too late to save this year’s business.