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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

All travellers to UK to soon need negative Covid-19 test

The UK government has announced that it is introducing new rules stating that all arrivals into the country will need to present a negative Covid test.

All travellers to UK to soon need negative Covid-19 test
Photo: AFP

Since the discovery of the new strain of Covid-19 first identified in the UK, scores of countries around the world have made a negative Covid test a requirement for all arrivals from the UK.

But now the British government has announced that it will require negative tests for anyone going into the country.

The requirement covers all arrivals, including British citizens, with only a small number of exemptions. The test must have been taken in the 72 hours prior to travel.

 

People arriving with a negative test result will still have to quarantine for 10 days after arrival, according to the government.

The new policy was announced for England, but the devolved nations have said they will follow suit.

According to British transport secretary Grant Shapps, the new rule will come into force in England next week (no exact date was given) and “as soon as possible” in Scotland.

Exemptions to the testing requirement are listed as hauliers, children under 11, arrivals from the Common Travel Area (with Ireland) and arrivals from countries where testing infrastructure is not in place. There was no detail given on the type of tests that will be accepted at the UK border.

People arriving into the UK will still have to fill in the contact locator form before arriving at the border. You can find the form here.

In reality lockdown rules and restrictions imposed on arrivals from the UK by multiple European countries mean that few people are travelling at present.

 

Member comments

  1. Grant Shapps: it will come into force in England next week; no detail given on type of test. On tv he said brightly that there are all sorts of tests. Extra bright expression to make it look as if everything was fine & he knows what he’s doing. Sorry, rest of the world. He doesn’t. They don’t. Excruciatingly embarrassing government.

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COVID-19

Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Austrians expressed shock and anger this week over the suicide of doctor who had been the target of a torrent of abuse and threats from anti-vaccination protesters.

Austria in shock over doctor's suicide following anti-vax abuse

The bells of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral rang out in memory of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr on Monday, and hundreds of people held a candle vigil outside, after the 36-year-old doctor was found dead at her practice on July 29.

She had long been the target of death threats because of her criticism of the widespread anti-lockdown protests of 2021.

An autopsy later confirmed that Kellermayr had taken her own life.

Austria has found itself deeply polarised over coronavirus restrictions and in particular a government policy –subsequently dropped — of making vaccination against the coronavirus compulsory.

Kellermayr — whose practice was in the region of Upper Austria where immunisation rates are particularly low — had frequently complained of the menace.

“For more than seven months, we have been receiving… death threats from those opposed to coronavirus measures and vaccinations,” she wrote at the time, sharing a message from one internet user who said they would pose as a patient in order to attack her and her staff.

She described how she had “invested more than 100,000 euros” ($102,000) in measures to ensure her patients’ safety and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Then, at the end of June, Kellermayr announced on her professional website that she would not be seeing patients until further notice.

Daniel Landau, who organised a memorial vigil for her in Vienna, said that Kellermayr had become a virtual recluse for several weeks. “She didn’t dare to leave” her office, Landau told AFP.

Fanning the aggression

On Saturday, the head of Austria’s doctors’ association, Johannes Steinhart, said that while aggressive behaviour towards medical staff was not new, it had been “fired up and noticeably aggravated” by the debate over Covid-19 and vaccines.

The police, who had previously suggested Kellermayr was exploiting the situation for attention, insist they did everything to protect her. The local prosecutor’s office also rejected suggestions it could have done more.

“As soon as we received the police report (identifying one of the suspects), we sent it over to the relevant authorities in Germany,” spokesman Christoph Weber said.

On Friday, prosecutors in the neighbouring German state of Bavaria said a 59-year-old suspect was being investigated by a specialist hate speech unit.

At the beginning of the week, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen visited the small town of Seewalchen where Kellermayr lived to lay flowers in her memory.

After news of her death broke, he had appealed to Austrians to “put an end to intimidation and fear”.

‘They’re gagging us’

But on some Telegram groups, the hateful messages continue.

“Some people are celebrating her death; others believe the vaccine killed her,” said Ingrid Brodnig, a journalist and author who investigates online disinformation.

“Stricts laws exist” already against online hate, but not enough is done to implement them, Brodnig said.

One government minister has floated the idea of a separate prosecutor’s office to target such cases. Doctors and researchers have also been targeted elsewhere.

French infectious disease specialist, Karine Lacombe, described how she had been vilified for her work as part of a collective of doctors combatting coronavirus-related disinformation.

She, too, complained that the response from the authorities in the face of threats was not robust enough, and has scaled down her public appearances this year.

“You end up thinking that the risk isn’t worth it,” she told AFP. “In that sense (the aggressors) have won, they are gagging us,” she said.

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