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Europe’s third wave, will I need a vaccination passport?

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After Boris Johnson’s announcement that the UK was to enter its third lockdown on January 6th 2021, the prospect of a summer holiday felt somewhat unattainable. That all changed as England’s ‘road map to recovery’ was announced in late February giving hope to the nation that we will be able to pack our bags, print our boarding passes and enjoy a summer getaway.

 

The UK vaccine rollout has been a success with, to date, over 30 million brits having the jab in the last 16 weeks. This monumental effort by the NHS and the UK Health system coupled with a 3-month lockdown has seen a steady decline in COVID-19 cases. Understandably we now want our beach break, and why not? We deserve it.

 

The progress with vaccinations in Europe has been slow. With fewer Europeans having been vaccinated, the media reports of a ‘third wave’, and the possible introduction of a COVID-19 passport, a number of questions come to mind;

  1. What does a third wave mean for UK travellers?
  2. Will I need a COVID-19 passport?
  3. Will my travel insurance cover me if something goes wrong?

 

Europe’s third wave

New variants of the virus have been blamed for the increase in cases in Europe. The B117 variant first discovered in London has spread to at least 27 European countries including Germany, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal — all among the most-visited countries by holiday-making brits.

 

Many eastern European countries have been the worst hit. Some seeing figures reaching over 1,000 cases per 1 Million of the population. Estonia, Hungary and Czech Republic have recorded the highest figures, which means travel to these countries is heavily restricted.

 

As the UK prepares for lockdown restrictions to be lifted with gyms and shops re-opening in a little under two weeks, transversely many other countries are now facing further restrictions.

 

On Monday 15th March, many regions of Italy went into lockdown with all but essential shops closing, and residents being told to stay at home.

 

France has also adopted a new regional lockdown. “Nearly a third of the French population in and around Paris, in the north of the country and in the south around Nice, entered a new month-long lockdown on 20th March. Three additional French regions, including the city of Lyon, are also being put under the same measures from 26th March, for four weeks. Non-essential businesses have to close, but schools and hairdressers will remain open.”

BBC – 27 March 2021

 

The French Health minister Olivier Véran brought to light the severity of the situation in Paris by saying “Every 12 minutes night and day, a Parisian is admitted to an intensive care bed,”

Guardian 14 March 2021

 

 

 

 

So where does this leave UK travellers? Currently the UK is only permitted to travel for essential trips internationally, this includes education, health reasons, funerals, and property management. International travel has been forecast for May 12th.

Imposed restrictions in Italy and France are initially proposed for four weeks with a later review. Restrictive measures across Europe have previously seen positive results in suppressing the virus, therefore planning a trip to these countries after the UK allows international travel will co-inside with restrictions being lifted.

 

It’s essential before booking any travel that you read our COVID-19 general information page to ensure your policy will cover you for your trip. If you purchase a policy to travel during a government enforced lockdown your will not be covered.

 

Will I need a COVID-19 passport?

For some time the European commission, with support from the EU, has worked with various groups and organisations with the aim of establishing “a compatible and mutually-accepted Digital Green Certificate”

 

“The digital document that initially will be used only for travel within the E.U., as reported by SchengenVisaInfo.com, would allow a quicker and safer movement of citizens and permit the restart of tourism within the E.U. The certificates will include information such as name, date of birth, date of issuance, information related to vaccine, test, and recovery.”

Forbes – 25th March 2021

 

Currently the roll out of such a passport has only been hinted to include member countries of the EU and European Economic Area (EEA), thus including Norway, Iceland, and Sweden. The EU’s plans only reach as far as EU citizens travelling within and outside of the EU. Boris Johnson has shown reservation towards a vaccination passport or certificate to use within the UK as mechanism to re-ignite the economy as the ethical implications may be too great.

 

Some European ministers share this sentiment arguing it will allow a minority to travel freely and without restrictions whereas other large groups of society will continue to face domestic restrictions awaiting their vaccination.

The final plans are yet to be decided, if the UK adopts the proposed Green Passport, or we create our own certificate for travel is yet to be seen.

 

Will my travel insurance cover me if something goes wrong?

Please be aware we are currently only selling policies for UK travel after 12th April and international travel after May 17th, 2021. If you purchase a policy to travel during a Government imposed lockdown then this policy will be invalid, and you will not be insured.

 

We understand this has been an unsettling time for all of our customers. Many will have had to make alternative travel or holiday arrangements or sadly some may have been cancelled.

 

If you are planning a trip later this year, it’s important to make sure you have appropriate insurance. You are now able to buy both annual multi-trip and single trip policies, which can be used for UK travel after 12th April and international travel after May 17th 2021.

 

If you are travelling during the government enforced travel ban, travelling to or from destinations with limited border access, or you are travelling knowingly with or have recorded symptoms of COVID-19, or you are travelling against the advice of the Government or the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, hereafter referred to as FCDO  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice, you will not be able to make a claim.

 

Please always check your policy schedule alongside your terms and conditions, as our policy coverages have changed since the COVID-19 outbreak, depending upon when you purchased your policy.

Find out more on our COVID-19 general information page.

 

COVID-19 general information

Auther

Andy Cresco

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