If you are a resident of the UK, you might be among the 42.8% of UK residents (as of the time of writing this) who have received their first COVID-19 vaccination shots. This leaves a complete 57.2% of the population in the United Kingdom who have not gotten vaccinated yet. Therefore, it is still important to keep observing the lockdown mandates, following social distancing and wearing masks. As of June 10th, 2021, the total number of people worldwide who have gotten vaccinated is at a mere 6%. This leaves 94% of the world’s population at risk from the virus, and precautions such as lockdowns and new travel regulations will continue to be a part of daily life for the foreseeable future.
Such a large proportion of unvaccinated people worldwide means that countries will need to continue screening for vaccinated, unvaccinated, infected and uninfected people. This is the only way a country can be sure of not letting in people who might be infected. This concern is particularly acute because of the new variants of COVID-19 that are emerging, which may result in more dangerous coronavirus outbreaks the longer the pandemic continues.
Are you planning a trip abroad?
Travellers now have to adjust to a new set of preflight health standards, similar to how they had to adjust to a steep rise in security checks following 9/11. The duration of these restrictions may be determined by how rapidly a reliable coronavirus vaccine becomes available and can be extensively distributed. This will very certainly take some time since vaccinating large numbers of people all throughout the world is difficult. To mitigate Covid-19 related health risks, you are now required to get a Fit-to-Fly Certificate to be allowed to travel by air outside the UK.
A fit to travel certificate, also known as a fit to fly letter, is a medical certificate issued by a doctor stating that you are fit to fly. This certificate is issued only after you test negative for Covid-19.
You can get home test kits to get a sample at home and have it tested at an authorized lab. A negative result will give you a fit to fly certificate that is valid for 3-4 days (depending on the rules of the place you are travelling to).
Every country has rules and regulations that are unique to that country, and if you plan to travel to any other country, you will need to follow the respective guidelines and requirements. The Fit-to-Fly Certificate is the standard used to indicate travellers who are not carrying the virus, irrespective of the vaccination status. The Fit-to-Fly Certificate verifies that you are free of COVID-19 and will not endanger your fellow passengers or the residents of the nation you are visiting. You may believe that you don’t need to take the COVID-19 test since you don’t have any symptoms, but that’s not enough.
Following is a list of the main symptoms that are associated with COVID-19:
- Sore throat
- Constant coughing
- Body or muscle aches
- Fever or chills
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
Even without any apparent symptoms, you can still be carrying the virus and spread it to other people. To make sure you do not become a Covid-19 spreader, you should take a PCR swab test. The PCR test is the most reliable method used across the world. You can get it for free through the NHS if you are showing symptoms, or you can buy a Coronavirus home test kit yourself otherwise. These home test kits allow you to take a swab sample yourself and deliver it to an authorized lab for analysis. If your COVID-19 PCR test comes back negative, you can use that result to get a valid Fit-to-Fly Certificate that will be valid for 3 to 4 days of taking the test. Each country has its regulations about the Fit-to-Fly Certificate’s validity, so make sure to get all the details before using a coronavirus home test kit.
When should you take a PCR test?
If you have symptoms, use a Coronavirus home test kit to take a swab sample from your throat and send it to the designated lab. Meanwhile, quarantine yourself at home so that if you do test positive, you would not have spread the virus.
While most people who get COVID-19 exhibit little or no symptoms, they can still become sick and spread the virus to others
This is why you should ideally take the PCR test regularly, such as every two to three weeks, to know for sure whether you are infected with the coronavirus and are a risk to other people. You should especially do this if you frequently go outside and cannot avoid direct contact with other people. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you should still consider getting tested.