On the 8th December 2021 at 6.00pm (GMT) Prime Minister, Boris Johnson approved plans to bring in further restrictions on daily life to avoid the spread of covid variant; Omicron. The UK government set out two plans, A and B, back in September of this year in order to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed, as it did when cases soared in 2020. Whilst it was hoped that Plan A would be enough, the new variant has called for stricter rules to be implemented.

Speaking at Downing Street, Boris Johnson addressed the UK and advised on three new restrictions. From the 10th December, face masks will be mandatory (unless under the age of 12 or medically exempt) in most indoor public places including cinemas and theatres. From the 13th December, all those that are able to are being asked to work from home, although Christmas Parties may still go ahead if people are careful. From the 15th December, the NHS COVID pass will be required for entry to nightclubs, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people and any venue exceeding 10,000 people.

Viewers were, however, relieved to hear that there a currently no plans for a Christmas lockdown.

Eligible people are being encouraged to have their booster vaccination as confirmed cases of the Omicron variant reach almost 600. However, the UK Health Security Agency has said this number is likely to be nearer to 10,000.

There are currently no further restrictions for travel, except for the introduction of PCR tests for arrivals to the UK which was announced earlier this month. Previously, there was a ban on international travel and travel within the UK unless essential. With that said, people may understandably have concerns about booking winter breaks for the near future. Travel giant TUI has expressed concerns about the current season, but has said customers are booking pricier holidays for 2022.

Those looking to book a break amid the covid Omicron uncertainty should ensure they are protecting themselves as best as possible against any future rule changes. Package holiday provides, airlines and accommodation companies are offering more lenient booking terms and conditions with many allowing customers to amend travel dates if restriction prevent them from going on their original holiday.

At present, travel insurance providers do not provide cover for cancellation due to changes in rules around COVID restriction. Most will, however, cover cancellation costs if the insured or member of their travelling party test positive for COVID prior to travelling. Few will also cover if the insured is notified by the NHS app that they are required to self-isolate following contact with someone that has contracted the virus, but terms and conditions will vary from provider to provider, so check the policy before buying

It is important to note, no cover is available for refused entry to a country for not having the correct documents or rests.

As always, if you have any specific travel related questions please get in touch and a member of our dedicated team will be happy to assist: hello@travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk