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Covid-19 BA.2 Omicron variant: what you should know before travelling

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Covid-19 BA.2 Omicron variant: what you should know before travelling

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While a seemingly ‘back to normal’ post COVID-19 approach has been adopted in many countries, the virus still plays a predominant role in our daily lives. In fact, mutations and new variants are pointing toward the fact that the pandemic is far from over. While we are still talking about the Omicron virus, a new sub-variant has been detected. 

What is the BA.2 Omicron variant?

Called BA.2, this version of COVID-19 is a sub-variant of Omicron and it is even more contagious than Omicron, which was the most transmissible variant detected till now. 

Three particularities of the BA.2 sub-variant:

  1. It is the most dominant version across the globe 
  2. In comparison to previous versions, vaccines are less effective against BA.2.
  3. It is slightly harder to track, hence its nickname ‘stealth variant’. 

The COVID-19 BA.2 variant in the UK 

Growing rapidly in Europe, the BA.2 variant has infected the UK as well. These past couple of months have seen a steady and significant increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases being detected in the United Kingdom. Affecting people of all age groups, the easily transmissible nature of the virus correlates with an increase in hospital cases. Despite vaccinations and booster jabs, infection levels kept increasing in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

sanitizer for Covid-19 patients

At the time of writing, it seems that the UK is past the peak level of infections. However, the situation is still worrisome with an actively high number of positive COVID-19 cases and an increase in hospitalisations and death rates. 

UK Govt “Living with COVID” strategy 

Part of the increase in the number of cases might be due to the UK Goverment’s ‘Living with COVID’ plan, a strategy focussing on personal responsibility and mass vaccination instead of restrictive laws and limits to protect the public. Consequently, on the 1st of April, the UK govt lifted all COVID-19-related regulations. Rules such as face masks being mandatory in indoor public spaces, routine testing in educational institutions or self-isolation being mandatory following a positive test are no longer in effect. While this, unquestionably, offers UK residents more freedom, it provides more breeding grounds for the virus, which can be transmitted much more easily, causing a rapid spread of the BA.2 sub-variant

In line with the ‘Living with COVID’ strategy, the govt has lifted all COVID-19-related travel restrictions for the UK. Travellers are no longer required to take a COVID-19 test before or after arriving in the UK even if they are not vaccinated. Quarantine rules have also been lifted, facilitating travel to and from the UK but also increasing the risks of being infected with COVID-19 while travelling. 

Travelling with the COVID-19 sub-variant BA.2 

Considering the highly transmissible nature of the sub-variant BA.2, travelling becomes even more tricky. While it is easier now to hop on a plane, the risks of being infected with COVID-19 are greater. Considering that PCR tests are no longer required and planes are crowded closed spaces with a lot of people in the same cabin, the probability that you are flying with someone who is COVID-19 positive is not to be eliminated. 

To be taken into the fact that you can be infected in airports as well. Currently, UK airports are cramped with travellers and there are more infected spaces that can contaminate you with COVID-19. The risk of contagion is greater and more dangerous among the elderly and children, who are more vulnerable, with a more fragile immune system. As such, it is important to take the necessary precautions, despite the lifting of regulations. Always wear your masks in airports and airplanes and do not forget to constantly sanitise your hands. 

coronavirus in airport

Air ambulances and private jets to travel safely 

There are two factors that you must take into consideration when making your travel plans:

  1. Crowded airports and airplanes
  2. The highly transmissible nature of the BA.2 variant. 

While flying in a commercial plane is relatively safe if necessary precautions are taken, the risk of being contaminated with COVID-19 is high. Thus, flying commercially is not advised if you have a fragile or compromised immune system.

Nonetheless, travelling safely is completely possible if you decide to charter a private plane. Medical Repatriation UK has both private jets and air ambulances for those who need to/ want to travel but do not wish to take the risk of being infected with COVID-19. Operating both from and to the UK, our private jets can transport several travellers on one trip, which means that you can have a dedicated airplane solely for your family members, without any contact with other passengers. 

Those with health issues can travel in our air ambulances. These are planes that feature medical equipment and doctors on board. As such, those needing constant medical supervision or care can fly without worrying about their health deteriorating. 

Use our air ambulances for medical repatriation 

A common usage of our air ambulances is to transport people who are outside of the UK and have been infected with COVID-19. Considering their health condition and mental state, being in a foreign country is not appealing. Not only are you on your own without moral support from your loved ones, but you might also be stuck in an area where the healthcare quality is way below that of the NHS, treatment is extremely expensive or language barrier is a serious problem. 

If you become infected with the BA.2 variant while travelling and you find yourself in these or one of these situations, you can opt for our medical repatriation service. We can pick you up, in either our air ambulances or private jets, from any country across the globe and take you back to the UK safely and quickly. 

ambulance jet

Thanks to our international and bed-to-bed services, our agents can liaise with the different authorities and arrange for ground transportation in both countries. As such, you do not have to be concerned of logistics, planning or scheduling issues. 

Contact us if you need to travel 

If you need to travel while the BA.2 COVID-19 sub-variant is dominating in several countries across the globe and you do not wish to take the risk of flying commercially, get in touch with us. Our agents, available every day on a 24-hour basis will advise you on the way to proceed and will also provide you with a free non-binding quotation. Contact them by: