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Current Covid situation in Ireland and London

I have just returned from a trip across several locations in Ireland and London. Masks are still used to some extent but for the most part not very much. My trip ended in London and I scheduled my Covid test for USA reentry with Express Test. They have a testing site at Heathrow and one in Paddington Station. I initially set up my test for the Heathrow site and later showed up at the Paddington site as it was close to my hotel. Unfortunately they would not test me and I had to buy an extra train ticket to go to Heathrow for the test the day before I flew home. Luckily I tested negative.

I was so nervous thinking about the implications of this test that during the pre-test days in London I only visited outdoor sites, I stayed out of the tube or buses, and I only purchased take out meals to eat in my hotel room.
I will not return to Europe until the testing requirement ends.

Posted by
6113 posts

Testing helps stop the spread of Covid. Would you prefer to get on a flight knowing that everyone had tested negative or be wondering how many were infectious?

I know more people in England that have tested positive for Covid in the past 3 weeks than in the entire last 2 years. It’s rife. Several of these people have been confined to bed for a few days - all in their 40s and 50s. Most have said they felt exhausted for days after testing negative. Not everyone is asymptomatic! I am glad you managed to avoid it.

Posted by
1016 posts

I think the testing to re-enter the US is putting many people off from going to Europe and making people nervous about needing to make a plan B in case of a positive test. (changing flights, finding accommodation, extra budget, and getting sick and needing health care). I know a couple of my friends have backed out of a trip to England for that very reason. However, I will be heading to England in May. I have not seen family for three years. I have traveled to the Caribbean, Hawaii, and many other US destinations and I have not feared flying or being around crowds. I have worked in a high school and early childhood center all this time and not tested positive even when everyone around me had it. (last February was pretty bad at my school). I am determined to go to England but I understand why many would not and it's typically because of the re-entry test requirement.

Posted by
497 posts

I too just got back from London, Cambridge and Jersey (Channel Islands). The only place I felt at ease on Covid was Jersey. We did a lot of outside things even in the cold wind, had our own car, etc. plus there were few tourists there at this time and so it was quiet. A bit same for Cambridge, sort of.

London, we were just shocked. We saw virtually zero masks, we saw packed restaurants, packed museums, packed crowds, etc. We ended up walking or taxi most of the time. My nephew, only one off using the Tube a lot ended up with sniffles and hoarseness just before we were to come back. Was really sweating the test for him. Turned out negative but he got sicker upon return, retested, still negative but ended up with a bad cold. So colds are back too. We wore masks a lot but cold weather drove us indoors. Could wear masks in museums but at restaurants not and they looked like 2018. Coming from California it was just a complete shock. In some ways our trip last late summer/fall was much better because of all the strict vaccination requirements in the countries we visited and the fact we could get tested THREE days before returning so that sword of Damocles was gone and if we had tested positive three days would’ve helped in terms of coordination with travel insurance and working towards getting back. My 2cents.

Posted by
4604 posts

It's actually pretty simple isn't it? If you're not comfortable going, don't go. Why on Earth would you go on a trip that you're not going to enjoy?

Posted by
121 posts

phred,
The reason I’m going on a trip I’m not comfortable going on?

1. I’m concerned the pandemic may continue to be problematic in the future.
2. I’m worried I may not have the disposable income to travel in the future.
3. I’m concerned that my cancer might return, or other health complications might prevent future travel.

I love to travel, and feel most alive when engulfed in adventure traveling. Many of my past trips are my favorite life memories. I hate the risk that Covid poses to my health and the potential financial hit, but I am going to gamble this summer on another mind-blowing, life-enhancing, travel adventure.

Posted by
1696 posts

It's ridiculous how so many places have done away with protections when it's obviously not over and not yet endemic. It's bad where I live, too, so I'm staying home as much as possible. But I am determined to go on my trip, which includes Ireland, next month. I will continue to wear an N95 mask and avoid being in crowded, indoor places as much as possible. I'm not going to let the spreadnecks spoil my travel plans.

If the testing requirements are making more people decide to stay home, I'm okay with that. It will hopefully mean fewer crowds for those of us who don't mind dealing with the protections.

Posted by
2 posts

Just returned from a week+ in the UK, London for the first weekend, then Wales, and back to London. As another individual mentioned, masks are not being worn in the areas we were. We wore our masks when in crowds (attended a Fulham FC game at Craven Cottage, wore our masks), only ate lunch and dinner where we could sit outside (weather cooperated for the most part), used taxi's and walked to get around London. We had a car outside of London. Driving back to London from Conwy, Wales we arranged for a test at a Boots (made appointment online before we left the US, 30 GBP) in downtown Solihull. It was a simple process. They only charged us once we had been tested and we received the negative results within an hour. Before leaving the US I had heard of several who had tested positive and had to quarantine before returning to the US. I missed taking public transportation and taxis are expensive but we did almost everything we wanted to do, stayed healthy and really enjoyed being back in Europe. We were comforted knowing everyone on the return flight had tested negative. I can't wait to return.

Posted by
467 posts

My experience in London was similar to everyone else's. I was there a month ago. The weather was beautiful so I walked a fair bit but I did take the Tube and the bus as well. I ate inside at a restaurant only once; otherwise I grabbed a coffee and pasty or sandwich and ate on a bench outside in a park, or got simple meal fixing and ate in (I had a kitchenette). I was determined to mask indoors but worried that I would feel like a freak in my kn95. Only about 25% of people in any given place were masked; not a lot, but enough that I didn't feel like I stood out.
I too am reluctant to travel internationally again until the testing requirement goes away. Think of all the years we flew maskless surrounded by people carrying god knows what communicable diseases. I'll probably continue to mask on planes even when the mask and testing requirements are fully gone. I think it would feel weird to be surrounded by so many people without a mask.