A traveller must either quarantine in the place they are staying or in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days due to Coronavirus. This will depend on where the traveller has travelled from in the 10 days prior to arrival into England.
Before leaving for the United Kingdom, the traveller will need to complete a passenger locator form and provide proof of a negative Coronavirus test.
You are unable to enter the United Kingdom if you have been in or through a country on the banned travel list known as the red list in the last two days.
COVID testing before travelling to the United Kingdom
The traveller will require proof of a negative Coronavirus test and this is required even if one is a UK citizen or has had the COVID-19 vaccine. The test needs to be taken three days prior to the departure of the service on which you will arrive into England. For example, if one arrives in England on Friday, the test needs to be taken on the following Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
The proof of a negative test result is needed to be a printed document or an email or text message, which can be shown.
Type of Test
The test result needs to be in English, French or Spanish and no translations are accepted. It needs to include the following information:
- Name, which needs to match the travel documents.
- Date of birth or age.
- The results of the test.
- The date of the test samples collected or received by the test provider.
- The name of the test provider and their contact details.
- Confirmation of the device used for the test or that the test was a PCR test.
If the test result is positive you are not allowed to travel and must follow the local rules and guidance for positive coronavirus cases.
If the result is inconclusive then you are recommended to take another test.
You will need to book two Coronavirus tests to be undertaken during the quarantine period in the United Kingdom. There are some job exemptions, and it is recommended that you review these on the government UK website.
The Day Two and Day Eight Tests are required to be booked prior to your travel and these can only be booked through the providers for day two and eight testing on the government website.
The day two test is needed to be taken on or before day two of the quarantine period and the second test needs to be taken on or after day eight of the quarantine period. If either of the tests are positive, then you are required to quarantine and self-isolate for a further 10 days from the date of the positive swab results.
If the day two test shows that you have a variant of Coronavirus, known as variant of concern, you will get a call and your contacts will also be asked to be tested.
The quarantine period other than those from countries on the red list (where you are in a managed quarantine hotel) can include staying in your own home, with friends or family or in a hotel or other temporary accommodation that is not a managed quarantine hotel.
However, you must quarantine in one place for the full quarantine period where food and other necessities can be delivered. You must also quarantine at an address which has been provided by you on the passenger locator form. You are not allowed to have visitors including family and friends unless they are providing emergency assistance, care, medical assistance, veterinary services, or certain other critical public services. You are not allowed to go out and you can only exercise in the place where you are quarantining or its garden.
If during this period, you develop Coronavirus symptoms such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss of sense of smell or taste or it is changed then you must order a test at that stage.
Testing During Quarantine
The Day Two Test
The day two test will need to be taken on or before day two of your quarantine period. The day of arrival in England will be treated as day 0. This first test is designed to help identify any potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. Tests will be taken in your own accommodation.
If you get a positive result from your day two test, you must quarantine for 10 days beginning the day after the test is taken i.e. until day 13. The household will also need to quarantine until day 13.
If you get a positive result from the day two test, you do not need to take a test on day eight.
The Day Eight Test
The COVID-19 test needs to be taken on or after day eight unless there has been a positive result from the day two test.
If you get a positive test result from your day eight test you will need to quarantine until day 19. Your household will also need to quarantine until day 19 when quarantine ends.
If you have quarantined for 10 full days where day 0 is the day you took the test or had symptoms and received a negative test result to both day two and day eight tests and you are well, you may leave the place where you are quarantining after the 10 full days.
Ending Quarantine Early
You are able to choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test through The London General Practice using the government’s Test to Release for international travel scheme.
It is not possible to take a Test to Release test until you have been in England for five full days.
It is not possible to use the Test to Release test if you have been through any country which is on the travel ban so-called red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England.
Even if you have a negative result from your Test to Release and are released from self-isolation, you will still need to take a test on or after day eight to check that you do not have COVID-19.
The Day Five Test to Release Scheme
On arriving in England, you are obliged to quarantine for 10 days on arrival. Under the Test to Release scheme, you are able to choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test through The London General Practice.
If the result is negative, you are able to end your quarantine. The test is not able to be taken until you have been in England for five full days.
If you choose not to take the private London General Practice day five Test to Release COVID-19 test you will need to quarantine for the full 10 days.
The test needs to be booked prior to your travel to England so that the details of the test can be entered onto the passenger locator form.
You can however decide to take part in the scheme after you arrive in England, but you will then need to complete another passenger locator form.
You are allowed to leave your house to go to the testing site.
For example, if you arrive in England on Monday, Tuesday will be the first full day of quarantine and then you can take a test no earlier than the fifth day after arrival in England, which is Saturday.
You are required to continue quarantining while you await the test result. If the test result is negative, you can stop quarantining as soon as you receive the result.
You still need to undertake the day eight Coronavirus test.
If you test positive you need to quarantine for another 10 days. The 10 days start from the day after you took the test or from when you first had symptoms if that is earlier. If you are living with people, they will also require to quarantine for 10 days from the date of the positive test. You will no longer be required to undertake the day eight Coronavirus test.
If the result is inconclusive, you will need to quarantine for the full 10 days but you may choose to undertake a further London General Practice day five Test to Release COVID test.
Dr Paul Ettlinger
The London General Practice