The travel correspondent of The Independent was last seen boarding a southbound train from the northern Burgundy town of Migennes, where once the Orient-Express paused for replenishment, in the general direction of the Mediterranean.
His current exact whereabouts are unknown. But thanks to the wonders of technology, he was able to answer 19 of your pressing travel questions from a distant railway station.
Q: I’m due to fly to Spain imminently. My son (with whom I live) tested positive for Covid 12 days ago. He was testing negative by 6 February and thus was released from isolation by his “day six” test two days later.
The health control form asks if you have had “close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 within the last week”. However, the wording of the form has confused me slightly. Do you think I can go to Spain?
A: Yes. Your question is about whether you can truthfully complete the form that will allow you to go without presenting a risk to others.
My interpretation is that a “confirmed case of Covid-19” ceases to be such when they present a negative case.
I trust that since his infection was identified, you have been testing regularly using NHS lateral flow devices; this is permitted for domestic purposes, though not for travel.
Assuming they were all negative, then I would not think to mention the issue on the Spanish health form.
Q: I am due to go on holiday to Spain with my wife in August 2022. Due to the “270 day rule” that now applies, our third Covid jabs (boosters) will have expired during July.
Therefore we will no longer have valid proof of vaccination to be able to enter the country.
As boosters started to be rolled out in the UK in September 2021, this issue is going to start hitting thousands of travellers and holidaymakers from around about June 2022.
Surely the government will have to start rolling out second boosters? Otherwise foreign travel will again become severely restricted.
A: The decision by a number of European countries to place an “expiry date” on the original course of Covid vaccines has caused plenty of consternation. The Spanish health ministry says that after 270 days (just under nine months), the original course of vaccines is deemed no longer to be effective.
In other countries, in some circumstances, the validity period is shorter – for example 180 days for activities/access to venues in Italy.
The authorities say that from 270 days after your second Covid jab, “in order to be valid, the vaccination certificate must reflect the administration of a booster dose”.
They add that the booster is valid indefinitely from the day of vaccination – and I am unaware of any major country setting a time limit for boosters.
In the six months before your trip, there will be many more changes to travel rules. But if expiry dates are imposed on booster jabs, that will be because there is general medical agreement a fourth vaccination is necessary.