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England requires negative test for travelers: What it means for Costa Rica

January 18, 2021

England now requires a negative coronavirus test from most returning travelers.

The policy, which began to be enforced Monday morning, applies to nearly everyone ages 11 and older. In addition to the test, travelers must self-isolate after arriving in England.

While the test does not need explicitly need to be a PCR, it must “meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.” A PCR test, like the ones offered in Costa Rica, is among the listed examples of a valid method.

Test results must be in either English, French or Spanish and include the following traveler information:

  • name, which should match the name on travel documents
  • date of birth or age
  • the result of the test
  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  • the name of the test provider and their contact details
  • the name of the test device

For more details on this policy, visit the government’s website.

England also remains on lockdown, which impacts most non-essential travel from UK citizens. As the government explains, individuals must not leave home unless they have a “reasonable excuse.”

You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

Impacts on Costa Rica

In 2019, 78,562 people from the United Kingdom visited Costa Rica, according to data from the Costa Rica Tourism Board. This made it the European country from which the second-most people traveled to Costa Rica, behind only Germany.

Due to the coronavirus, visits from the UK dropped significantly in 2020. From January-November 2020, 23,468 Britons came to Costa Rica — including just 16 people from April to July.

Tourists rebounded slightly in 2020’s later months, with 968 UK arrivals from August to November.

British Airways, which typically flies non-stop from London, is expected to resume its route to Costa Rica later in 2021. Other European airlines, including Air France, Iberia, KLM and Lufthansa, retook flights in 2020.

Several private labs in Costa Rica offer PCR testing on-demand for a fee. This include:

Laboratorios Echandi, Hospital La Católica, Hospital Cima, Laboratorios LABIN, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, Laboratorio Páez, Laboratorios San José and Hospital Metropolitano.

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