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Day 2 and 8 testing

Order your compulsory Covid Travel Testing Package for day 2 and day 8 of your quarantine.

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It’s mandatory to perform two Covid-19 tests after international travel. You’re required to perform a test on or before day 2 for variant surveillance and another test on or after day 8 of your quarantine to check you do not have coronavirus.

What are the requirements for testing on day 2 and 8 after returning to England?

Everyone allowed to travel to England from outside the Common Travel Area who are not travelling from a red list country must:

Please see further information on the government website. If you’re travelling to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you’ll need to follow separate guidelines.

What is the Common Travel Area?

The Common Travel Area comprises the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. The British Overseas Territories are not included. Further information is on the government website.

What do I do if I’m travelling from a ‘red list’ country?

A red list country is a country where travel to the UK is banned. Anyone who is arriving in England who has visited or passed through a country on the red list in the 10 days before their arrival needs to follow the UK government’s guidance.

What do I need to do before I travel to England?

If you’ve visited or passed through a country on the red list in the 10 days before arriving in England, please refer to the question: ‘What if I’m travelling from a ‘red list’ country.

If you haven’t visited or passed through a country on the red list in the 10 days before returning to England, you must:

  • Take a COVID-19 test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel
  • Book and pay for a day 2 and 8 test package, which includes COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine
  • Complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will quarantine when you arrive and the day 2 and 8 test package booking reference number

What happens if I provide incorrect information or don’t quarantine?

You can receive substantial fines. Please check the government website for further information.

How do I book a day 2 and 8 testing package?

Medicspot is a government approved supplier of day 2 and 8 testing packages. You can book your test here.

Is testing on day 2 and 8 following returning to England compulsory?

Yes, before travelling to England, everyone who hasn’t visited or passed through a country on the red list in the 10 days before arriving must book and pay for a Travel Test Package, which will includes COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine.

When can I leave quarantine?

When you arrive in England you must go directly to your quarantine location and not leave until 10 days have passed. You can only leave quarantine once you have both received a negative day 8 test result and passed the 10 day quarantine period. Please see further information on the government website.

You can leave quarantine early if you receive a negative test result on or after day 5 through the Test to Release programme. You can book a Test to Release test through our website.

Even if you test negative through Test to Release and finish your quarantine early, you still need to take your day 8 test.

Can I leave quarantine early if my day 8 test is negative?

No, even if your day 8 test is negative, you must stay in quarantine until day 10.

Can I leave quarantine after day 10 if I haven’t received my day 8 results?

No, you must receive a negative day 8 test and complete your 10 day quarantine before leaving self-isolation.

When can I take my day 2 and 8 tests?

You can take your day 2 test any time on or before day 2 following your arrival in England. You can take your day 8 test on or after day 8.

Can I get my day 2 and 8 test kits early?

You can collect your day 2 test on before day 2 but you can only receive your day 8 test on or after day 8. You can’t be in physical possession of your day 8 test before day 8.

Can I still use Test to Release to leave quarantine early?

Yes, you can still leave quarantine early if you receive a negative test result on or after day 5 through the Test to Release programme. You can book a Test to Release test through our website.

Even if you test negative through Test to Release and finish your quarantine early, you still need to take your day 8 test.

Do I still need to take my day 8 test if I test negative for COVID-19 with Test to Release?

Yes, even if you test negative through Test to Release and finish your quarantine early, you still need to take your day 8 test.

What happens if I test positive in either of the day 2 or 8 tests?

If your day 2 or 8 test results are positive then you must quarantine for an additional 10 days from the day you took the test – further advice will be provided with your test results.

If your test shows that you have a variant of coronavirus known as a ‘variant of concern’ you will get an additional call and anyone you have been in contact with will be asked to be tested.

Please see the government website for more information.

Does the day 2 test include genomic sequencing?

There is a requirement by the UK government to conduct genomic sequencing on all positive test results from day 2 tests. This is a very expensive process so increases the overall cost of the testing package.

Where can I find the passenger locator form?

You can find more information on the passenger locator form on the government website.

How can I travel to where I’m going to quarantine?

When you arrive in England you must go straight to the place where you intend to quarantine. Only use public transport if you have no other options. Do not travel by public transport if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. Please see the government website for further details.

Can I leave my quarantine location to collect or conduct my COVID-19 test?

Yes, you are permitted to leave your quarantine location to collect or conduct your COVID-19 test but you are required to return to your quarantine location as soon as this is complete.

Can I have more details of what to do in quarantine?

For full details of quarantine requirements, please see the government website.

Can I just take a day 2 test?

No, currently you must take both a day 2 and a day 8 test when you return to England from a country outside the Common Travel Area.

What is the new traffic light system for international travel?

From 17th May at the earliest, countries will be placed in green, amber or red lists. It is likely that travellers returning from green list countries will not need to quarantine but will still need to take day 2 Covid tests that include genomic sequencing. This is in order to monitor if new strains of the virus are being introduced to the country. The current restrictions for passengers travelling to England from amber and red list countries are likely to remain the same.

By Dr Adam Abbs

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