From Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 12:01AM ET all COVID-19 testing entry requirements for international travellers to the United Stated were rescinded.
Arrivals no longer need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test or documentation of recovery prior to boarding a flight to the U.S nor upon arrival.
The Centre For Disease Control (CDC) has reached the decision based on the high vaccine uptake and widespread population immunity.
In the statement they released, they explain; “The COVID-19 pandemic has now shifted to a new phase, due to the widespread uptake of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, the availability of effective therapeutics, and the accrual of high rates of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity at the population level in the United States. Each of these measures has contributed to lower risk of severe disease and death across the United States. As a result, this requirement which was needed at an earlier stage in the pandemic may be withdrawn.”
Most countries, including the UK, have already abandoned testing requirements in a bid to return international travel to pre-Covid levels and it seems the CQC have decided it is now time for the U.S to do the same.
Does this mean that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended?
No, but it does signify a shift in the pandemic. As we see a worldwide reduction in covid cases and death rates, the CDC statement clarifies that whilst testing may not be necessary right now, they will continue to monitor the data and adapt accordingly.
They state; “CDC continues to evaluate the latest science and state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes”.
What about covid vaccinations…
Do I need to be vaccinated to travel to the U.S?
Yes, foreign travellers from outside of the U.S are required to be double vaccinated from COVID-19 to enter the country. But for people under the age of 18, U.S citizens/ nationals or lawful permanent residents will be exempt from vaccination requirements. Currently, the Covid Booster vaccination is not a requirement and there is no set expiry date on the first dose of vaccination.
Overall, the easing of the US Covid restrictions is welcome news to the travel and tourism industry and demonstrates the possibility of international travel returning back to its pre-covid levels.
However, the absence of masks, vaccines, or travel mandates does not mean that the risk of catching Covid-19 has gone away.
We strongly recommend:
- Having comprehensive travel health insurance for all travel to the USA – hospital care should you require treatment for Covid is very costly.
- Wearing a high filtration (N95 or FFP3) mask during your journey
- Practising all the usual hygiene recommendations during your journey (e.g. hand sanitisers, distancing where possible
- Having an early test and avoiding travel if you have even minor symptoms.
For more information on the covid testing services available at Fleet Street Clinic.
At Whitby & Co. and the Fleet Street Clinic, we strongly believe in our duty to protect our colleagues and patients alike, independently of Government regulations. We have stayed open since the start of the pandemic, delivering key health services for our patients, face-to-face and without interruption, but with no compromise on safety.
Despite the recent changes to isolation legislation and access to testing, you can rely on the fact that we plan to keep regularly testing all our staff for the foreseeable future – using highly sensitive rt-PCR tests in our own onsite lab. The benefits of rt-PCR testing means the infection is detected much earlier, rather than at peak infection which is when lateral flow tests only turn positive. We will advise our employees to continue to isolate in the event of a positive test: we prefer to pay our staff to stay at home, rather than risk spreading Covid-19 among colleagues or to our patients.
Whilst we absolutely recognise that the Omicron variant is less severe than previous dominant strains of SARS-CoV-2, we are not willing to compromise the health and wellbeing of our employees or patients when the severity is so unpredictable person to person. For peace of mind and to protect those most vulnerable, we will continue to wear face masks and prevent infectious individuals from entering our premises.
Our internal strategy appears thus far to be successful: although a number of us have inevitably had Covid-19 over the course of the pandemic, there have certainly been no outbreaks among staff from workplace transmission.
Beyond this, you can rely on the fact that all our staff are fully vaccinated, and indeed (like all health workers) were prioritised for vaccination from the earliest opportunity.
Whatever your reason for coming to see us at 29 Fleet Street – whether for an eye examination, a GP appointment, travel vaccines, or to use any of our other services, you can be confident that we have all been vaccinated and have had a recent negative coronavirus test. And this extends to if any of us come and see you at your home, office or place of work, you can be completely assured that we have used all our resources to protect you, your family and your colleagues.
Fleet Street Clinic receives UKAS ISO 15189 Accreditation for testing of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
Fleet Street Clinic has confirmed its UKAS ISO 15189 accreditation for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19), granted on 8th December 2021.
UKAS is the National Accreditation Body for the United Kingdom and is appointed by the UK Government to access competence and accredit organisations that provide testing services. It is an internationally recognised accreditation body.
Fleet Street Clinic has been at the forefront of private Covid-19 testing since the start of the pandemic and is one of the very few private healthcare clinics in London who can deliver ultra-rapid testing to private patients and corporations.
Receiving the UKAS ISO 15189 accreditation confirms that Fleet Street Clinic has continuously met the standard of accuracy and safety for private covid-19 testing and offers quality assurance.
Our full scope of accreditation can be found here.
With almost 25 years of diagnostics experience, Fleet Street Clinic can be trusted with confidence to deliver private Covid-19 testing.
Our new, in-Clinic PCR laboratory is now open: Introducing Fleet Street Laboratory.
Our historic Grade II listed premises have been adapted to accommodate one of the latest and most technically advanced robotic PCR systems anywhere, enabling us to carry out more tests simultaneously, accurately, and delivering the fastest results. Our lab upgrade means we will also continue to meet the highest quality and safety standards.
PCR technology is not new, but until recently hasn’t needed the space, complexity and resources of a full-scale clinical laboratory. Our upgrades mean samples can be processed in large batches rather than individually run.
In 2017, we embraced the challenge of bringing PCR closer to the consulting room: a pioneering colleague in the US had begun to use PCR at “point-of-care”, and I’d seen the benefits to patients first-hand. The Fleet Street Clinic became one of the first practices in the UK to apply this to respiratory infections, and also to gastrointestinal infections in returning travellers at our busy Travel Medicine practice. This enabled us to confirm a diagnosis and start treatment all at the same initial visit.
PCR stands for “polymerase chain reaction”.
It is a laboratory technique that exponentially amplifies the tiniest traces of any genetic material – DNA and RNA – that exactly matches the infection or disease under test. Instead of hunting with microscopes, or incubating cultures for days at a time, viruses, bacteria and parasites can be found quickly and reliably. They can be sought individually, or in “syndromic panels”: a respiratory panel, for example, can screen a sample for an array of 22 different organisms at the same time, each capable of causing respiratory symptoms, detectable from a nasal swab.
By the time SARS-CoV-2 reached the UK at the beginning of 2020, we were onto our second generation of PCR systems. We had just added two faster and more efficient machines, adding a panel of sexually transmitted infections to the repertoire (and capable of delivering a full sexual health screen in a couple of hours rather than the 2 to 3-day turnaround that our outside lab was offering). Both were quickly “upgraded” to be able to detect coronavirus infection – and when I contracted a mild version at the beginning of March 2020, my sample was our first in-house positive case. Within a couple of weeks, demand for consumables overwhelmed supplies, and we were left with equipment that was impossible to use.
One year on, we have dramatically expanded our capacity and capabilities. We have four sophisticated PCR systems, each with different strengths and capabilities, to which our newest system will now be added. We have been able to support some of the most challenging requirements: from clinical diagnosis (including support for the NHS) to facilitating international travel; and workplace screening for critical industries and complex projects – including major film production in the UK and abroad. Our focus has been on combining high quality service with the fastest possible turnaround. We have built expertise, developed our team, and are very excited about our new lab.
Come and see it next time you come to the Fleet Street Clinic!
Or if you need a PCR test, you can book online.