Yet another "travelling in the time of Covid" question
December 7, 2021 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Looking to hear your experiences of changing travel plans as a result of testing positive for Covid. What did you do? How did you know when to rebook your flight for? This hasn't happened to me (yet), but I'm curious as to how to manage such a situation should it arise.

My main question is around when you can travel if you test positive on a PCR.

Official NHS guidance says that you are likely to keep testing positive for Covid for up to 90 days after infection, and so you are not supposed to test within that time period, but what if you have to get a test? Could you be conceivably stuck abroad for 3 months if you can't get a negative PCR/fit to fly test?

How did you manage your flight rebooking, etc, if you tested positive for Covid before flying? Did you book your new flight for after the mandatory self-isolation period (10 days in the UK) or for later?

I'm curious to hear how it has worked for people. Christmas travel season is coming up and I'm nervous, and it would be good to have a plan for the worst case scenario.
posted by unicorn chaser to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I don't have the details handy, but many countries allow documented proof of recovery from covid in lieu of a negative PCR test for exactly this reason. If you can show you got a positive PCR result more than 11~ days ago, that counts.
posted by knapah at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Did you book your new flight for after the mandatory self-isolation period (10 days in the UK) or for later?

Apologies - a proofreading fail. That should read:

Did you book your new flight for immediately after the mandatory self-isolation period (10 days in the UK) or for a few days later?

posted by unicorn chaser at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2021

Not sure if this is helpful but there is COVID-specific travel insurance, which covers you if your travel plans change as a direct result of COVID:
posted by erattacorrige at 12:22 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you were travelling to the US, the CDC says that

If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

So a combination of a positive PCR test showing that you had COVID and a letter from the doctor saying that you are recovered. Check the rules of the country that you would be flying into to see if there is something similar and the rules of the country you are visiting to see what their standard is for "recovery" from COVID.
posted by metahawk at 12:27 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A fully-vaccinated friend of mine with no symptoms tested positive for Covid this summer two days before a long-planned trip from the US to the UK to visit family. He went into isolation and he did not rebook right away. He ended up taking the trip about six or seven weeks later. Of course, he got this test while he was home, not away.

I think right now it's good to have a Plan B, whether that's because the country you are going to won't let anyone in or a positive test or whatever.

Also, an August Huffington Post article on what the NHS says isn't official NHS advice. That 90-day thing is talking about the possibility of false positives, especially in the context of people who are tested regularly at work as part of their jobs. Here's the official UK page on traveling into different parts of the UK during covid.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:21 PM on December 7, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks. Bluedaisy, that is useful to know re: your friend. The country I'd be travelling to only accepts a negative PCR test, no other tests.
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:37 AM on December 8, 2021

Best answer: Not quite what you're asking, but related: The Guardian today has a response to someone who had the virus a month ago and is wondering what this would mean for them on return to the UK after a trip to Poland. Summary: as things stand, people in this situation fall through a gap in the regulations and, being unable to show a negative PCR test on return, may find themselves having to isolate for months.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:41 AM on December 8, 2021

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