Individuals who wish to travel abroad amid the current world crisis are likely to lose a lot of money in hidden fees. The coronavirus pandemic outbreak is financially devastating for many people as it demands a lot of money for livelihood. The pandemic pushed for governments to motivate their citizens to get vaccinated, and the vaccination programs have been progressing well in most developed countries. However, those who travel abroad to other destinations have found life quite difficult due to the requirements needed to visit another country. Country leaders took measures against any threat coming from travelers, especially those from covid-19 hotspot areas.
Reports have shown an increase in the prices of covid travel test packages, and this has happened during a time where most people are traveling abroad as some move to ‘safe’ countries where cases are lower. It seems as if retailers are taking advantage of travelers by hiking the prices of test kits. People will have no choice but to buy the expensive stuff to travel to their destinations. Hence this might be an economical move. But it has been revealed that the kits are on demand, especially in African countries where shortages of both test kits and vaccines have been reported.
Other stakeholders alluded to how the government needs to surf through companies added on the official list. The prices of the two-swab kit increased from £45 to £63 just after 2 weeks, and these are the cheapest suppliers available. And if the government is ranging on those prices, then the private sector is probably using ‘unreasonable’ figures. Other forms of tests are only available at specific locations, so customers are forced to travel many miles, but traveling for longer distances is not an option for every customer. This is because some companies’ websites trap users into paying more money for tests.
England’s rules mandate that unvaccinated people who arrive in the country should be tested for covid-19 before traveling. It is also required for these travelers to book tests for days 2 and 8 of the ten-days quarantine period after they arrive. After the lifting of covid-19 legal restrictions on Monday the 19th of July, regulations for vaccinated people changed as they were no longer quarantined but only do one test after they have arrived. They would also be mandated to do a test before leaving for England. Countries that were placed on the amber countries should follow all these directives.
Recently, these directives seem to pose problems for many citizens, especially after France was added to the amber list, with Spain looking like it will be added soon. These countries are currently being tormented by the Beta variant, with cases and deaths surging. Due to this, those vaccinated individuals from these countries will have to be quarantined. The travel industry was shattered by the news and discouraging many people from traveling [Source].
Some travelers failed to visit their destinations because their firms were not able to undertake the tests. The Guardian reported how firms listed by the government seem unique and unpopular to the people. Some of such firms are very expensive to the extent of bankrupting customers [Source]. Allegedly, prices on the government’s list are deceptive to customers as they appear to be as little as £25, but they are more than double [Source]. Such exorbitant prices are fuelling the trend of fake certificates because travelers are desperate to get a document so that they are eligible to travel. Fake covid-19 certificates, which show if one is negative, are quite cheap compared to getting a real test, so the market for these dubious documents might grow given the situation.
Some firms’ prices were very high, with one demanding $525 for a single test service. This act is despised for killing businesses in the travel sector. Certain private firms are not delivering on their promises even after customers pay, and these firms are those listed by the governments. Customers’ reviews revealed that firms offering ‘day two’ test kits have failed to provide the kits or doubled prices when a customer pays for services, and these firms include 123tests.co.uk, which had a price of £26 but ended up demanding £75 [Source].
Private facilities have been gifted with an economic opportunity to exploit people, and it was received with open arms. Because the government did not fully take control of the testing processes and distributing kits, private companies will flourish by dishing out pricy sub-standards services. Once more, the people are caught between financial parasites and the government’s mandated covid-19 testing laws. Thus, until the crisis is over, people will suffer financially trying to get tested, and the private companies seem eager to continue raising their prices. Since people are unwilling to stop traveling, this issue needs urgent attention and intervention from the government not to get exploited by these firms.