What Happens If You Contract Covid-19 While On Holiday
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As we begin to travel again via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), the fear of testing positive for Covid-19 while abroad is an uncomfortable reality. While travelling is now a possibility, the risk from the virus has not disappeared.
The rules and guidelines on which authorities to notify vary from country to country. Plus the immediate action required, whether; quarantine, self-isolation or Covid-19 testing, could be very confusing!
So, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know as a traveller from Singapore – should you display Covid-19 symptoms or get a positive test result – while on holiday in the currently listed VTL countries/regions.
What should I do if I develop Covid-19 symptoms while abroad?
If you start experiencing the key symptoms of Covid-19 – like a high fever, cough, chills, dizziness and immense fatigue – here’s what you should immediately regardless of which VTL country/region you are in:
- Stay indoors and avoid contact with others.
- Inform your travel insurance provider and check your policy if unsure about your plan limits.
- Check on the rules of self-isolation. Take note that if you need to self-isolate, it must be in the country you are in, regardless of when your journey home is booked.
- If you develop Covid-19 symptoms while at an airport, bus or train station before or during a long trip, you should not start (or continue) your trip, but seek medical advice as quickly as possible.
Bear in mind that not everyone who has contracted Covid-19 will develop noticeable symptoms. However, you should follow the same steps above, if you test positive after one of the routine tests required for the VTL destinations.
What if I come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19?
Following the public health guidelines in the country you are in is very important. Always keep sanitised and protect yourself with a mask. But, if you unknowingly cross paths with someone who then tests positive for Covid-19, you should also get a test done as soon as possible. If you are required to quarantine or self-isolate by local authorities, you must immediately do so.
Specific advice of the immediate steps to take if you show symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 while visiting the VTL countries/regions, including how to access their local healthcare, is listed below:
|VTL Country/Region||Covid-19 Health Guidelines||Self-Isolation||Local Healthcare Hotline|
|United Kingdom||Arrange for a Covid-19 swab test online.Close contacts are not required to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated, or under 18 years and six months old if unvaccinated.||10 days at your own accommodation if the test comes back positive.||119 You can also arrange for a Covid-19 swab test by calling this number.|
|France||Take a multiple polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or antigen rapid test (ART) at an authorised test centre.Close contacts must make an appointment to get swabbed. If the test is negative, self-isolation is no longer required and they may continue their itinerary.||10 days at your own accommodation if the test comes back positive. *If you still have a temperature at the end of 10 days, you need to continue for another 48 hours.||09 72 72 99 09 You can also call emergency services at 15 on a French mobile or 112 from a non-French mobile if your Covid-19 related symptom worsens.|
|Italy||Contact the local area’s health authority if you suspect that you have contracted Covid-19.Close contacts will not be required to quarantine if their Covid-19 swab test results come back negative.||10 days at your own accommodation if the test comes back positive.||You can contact the Covid-19 toll-free number at 800 957 795 or 800 333 444.|
|Spain||Contact the health authorities of the region you are staying in, and they will ascertain whether you need to take a swab test.Close contacts should quarantine themselves for 10 days.||10 days at your own accommodation if the test comes back positive.||If feeling seriously ill, call 112.|
|South Korea||If you test positive for Covid-19, you will be transferred to a hospital or residential treatment centre depending on level of severity.If you display symptoms, you can only resume your travel plans, if you don’t have a fever without medication and two PCR tests spaced out over 24 hours must come back negative.If you’re asymptomatic, you’ll have to take a PCR test on the 7th day. If that comes back positive, you have to take another PCR test on the 14th day. If this comes back negative, a doctor will decide a date for you to take two PCR tests at a 24-hour interval and quarantine will only be lifted if both tests come back negative.Close contacts would have to self-isolate for 14 days from the time of exposure to the patient. Note: South Korea’s government willcover costs related totests, the use of isolation facilities and treatment.||Self-isolate immediately before you arrange for the test and wait for the results.||Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency hotline at 1339.|
Take note that every self-isolation period begins immediately from when the symptoms start, when the test was taken (if asymptomatic), or from the date of close contact with someone that later tested positive.
You should also take note of when you are allowed to return to a normal routine and stop self-isolating. Just remember: if you still have a high temperature, continue self-isolating and seek medical advice.
Can I claim for hospital treatment or an extension of my hotel stay through my travel insurance?
That depends on your insurance policy and its coverage. Your policy may or may not cover the cost of your treatment, depending on the country you’re in. Contact your insurance company if you have any doubts.
Returning Home to Singapore
If you’re infected with Covid-19, you run the risk of infecting countless other people you may come into contact with. That’s why it’s crucial that you observe the self-isolation period and take a follow-up PCR test before returning to Singapore.
Also, remember that there are conditions for re-entry into Singapore that need to be fulfilled. You will not be able to board your return flight if you test positive for Covid-19 just before your departure. In this case, you will need to immediately self-isolate in the country you are in for at least 10 days before you do another check. The minimum 10 days self quarantine in most of the VTL countries/regions, besides South Korea is at your own expense, so you’d want to ensure that your travel insurance policy includes coverage for Covid-19 related medical expenses.