International students fear for their Christmas travel plans amid new government rules

Nottingham’s international students say they are worried about going home for Christmas after the UK government changed the rules on travel.

Additional measures have been introduced in an effort to contain the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, first identified in South Africa, with many cases being reported in the UK.

The new rules require those coming to England to take a pre-departure test abroad within 48 hours of their arrival.

This is in addition to the two mandatory days of isolation travellers must undergo whilst waiting for a negative PCR test result.

Oliver Mlodkowska, Nottingham Trent University student, 20, said: “The worry is I can’t return to my family in Poland for Christmas and also return to university safely on time for the second term starting.

“The journey almost doesn’t seem worth the risk.”

The new restrictions were put into force for all incoming travellers on Tuesday, December 7 from 4am.

With an increasing amount of people choosing to cancel holidays or not travel abroad this season, travel industry bosses have criticised the UK government’s actions.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive at Airlines UK said:  “It is premature to hit millions of passengers and industry before we see the full data. We don’t have the clinical evidence.”

The new restrictions have also deterred students from leaving the country due to the additional costs of increased testing on top of already expensive flight fees.

Louis De Rul, Nottingham University student, 19, said: “Getting back to France is now stressful, it’s hard to find an approved testing service, and it’s expensive.”

For more information on travel and whether the new restrictions will affect you visit: Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (