In the UK, the government has announced a new program to help reduce the length of quarantine for people entering into England from mid-December. For now, no changes in the entry rules in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The updated entry rules still require persons traveling from countries on the exempt list to get their PCR swab test before arrival.
However, those entering the UK from countries but not on the exempt list need to quarantine themselves for about 14 days when they come into England. The newly introduced program implementing a COVID-19 test in England will help reduce the period of quarantine by about one-third of the required time. However, this comes at the expense of the traveler on day five of the quarantine.
A negative test result allows the traveler to come out of quarantine, but if the result is positive, the traveler has to complete the 14-day quarantine.
Travelers are not allowed to get their COVID-19 travel test on the NHS but can pay privately for it from a government-approved test provider. Private clinics now offer COVID-19 tests to people who want to travel to another country to avoid the 14-day quarantine, but some governments recommend only a few airlines for international travels.
For persons traveling to England, the government recommends getting the COVID-19 test before arrival. Note that most countries require you to get your COVID-19 test before arrival and also pay for a test which you will perform five days into your quarantine, and this usually has a considerable effect on the cost of traveling.
These countries include Seychelles, Jersey, Maldives, Bermuda, several Caribbean islands, and Cyprus.
Why does the NHS not offer the COVID-19 test for travelers?
The NHS only offers the COVID-19 test to persons showing symptoms of the disease and those whose GP, local council, or hospital, requests for them to get the test. If you want to travel and need to get a COVID-19 test, you have to pay privately for it.
Where can I get a COVID-19 test?
If you want to travel abroad, ensure you opt for a certified COVID-19 test provider.
What is the cost of a COVID-19 test?
The cost of the COVID-19 test varies, but you may get the test between £65 – £120 depending on the test provider. Travel COVID-19 test usually cost between £120 – £250, while a fit-to-fly certificate incurs an extra cost of about £25 – £100. Ensure you book for your COVID-19 test with a reputable testing center.
Some low-cost carriers are partnering with rapid COVID-19 test providers to offer passengers confirmation testing at £85, but some offer this test for free.
How do if I need a COVID-19 test before traveling to a different country?
You can get information online about the entry requirement for most countries. Some countries require travelers to pay for their test when they arrive, while others may need travelers to provide the result of an antigen COVID-19 test or fit-to-fly certificate.
Countries like the Seychelles and Barbados request travelers to quarantine themselves for two days and get a confirmation test on arrival at no cost. Travel restrictions and entry requirements of various countries are currently changing, so check on the country’s official website a few days before your trip.
When should I get my test?
You will get the test for a test-to-release five days after you arrive in the UK. If you want to travel to a different country, you will be given a specific period before your arrival to get the test. Most countries require travelers to get the test between 48 – 120 hours.
If your travel destination requires you to get the test 72 hours before your departure, you cannot perform the test before the 72-hour timeframe, and you must have your test result before traveling. Ensure your book for your test on time to avoid a delayed result that would disrupt your flight.
Can I get my COVID-19 test at home?
You may opt for an in-clinic or a home testing kit. Getting your throat and nasal swab sample takes only a few seconds, then they send it to the lab for analysis, and some clinics take saliva samples. If you opt to take the swab sample yourself, the lab will mail the testing kit to you in advance, and you will post it to them when you collect the sample.
How long will it take to get the COVID-19 test result?
Most COVID-19 test providers assure patients that their results will be ready within 36 – 72 hours. Some providers offer the same or next-day results, but if you perform the test during the weekend, it may take longer.
Some COVID-19 test providers claim to offer a 99% accurate test, but human error, amongst other factors, may give false-negative test results. For this reason, some countries provide confirmation tests on arrival, while others request travelers to undergo a two-week quarantine.
If your result is inconclusive or you have a borderline reading, you will need to perform the test again.
What happens after a positive test result?
A positive result for a test-to-release means that you will need to complete your 14-day quarantine. However, having a positive test result before your departure day means that you cannot travel. You may not get a refund for your trip except for you to have a travel cancellation plan. However, some airlines allow travelers who tested positive for COVID-19 to reschedule their flights for free.
Does travel insurance provide coverage for positive COVID-19 results?
Some travel insurance plans cover the cancellation of a trip due to a positive COVID-19 result. However, your insurance provider has to consider certain things before covering the cost of a canceled trip.
Ensure you know all the entry requirements of our travel destination before you make your plans for your trip.