The government’s Global Travel Taskforce (GTT), chaired by Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps, last week announced the new ‘Test To Release’ regime. This has been devised to enabling the country to create a careful and balanced route out of the pandemic, bolstering international travel, whilst keeping the public safe.
Lets look at the detail…..
Q: What is the new ‘Test To Release regime?
A: This system will replace the current 14 day quarantine period, for passengers arriving from countries the do not have a ‘travel corridor’. UPDATE: From Monday 14 December, the number of days that you will need to self-isolate will be reduced from 14 days to 10 days
Q: When will this come into effect?
A: From Tuesday 15thDecember 2020
Q: How will this work?
A: Following your return from a non ‘travel corridor’ country, you will quarantine for 5 days, taking a PCR test on the 5thday. Once you receive your negative result, you are free to return to work / school / normal life.
Q: Where can I take a test?
A: The government have said they will release a list of approved testing facilities. You may take your test at any one of these. UPDATE 15.12.20 – The government has today released a list of private providers. Please follow the link to see the up to date list.
Q: Will I have to book?
A: Yes and you will need to do this before you depart, as you will have to declare the test centre upon entry to the UK.
Q: How much will the test cost?
A: This will depend on the clinic that you use, however the cost of testing is significantly less than when testing commenced during the summer.
Q: Do I have to go to a testing facility?
A: There is the option to visit a test centre or take a test at your home.
Q: Can I use the NHS facility for this?
A: No, the NHS system is only for those with Covid symptoms. If you use this service you will not legally be permitted to exit quarantine early.
Q: Do I have to quarantine for 5 days and take a test from every country?
A: No, there are a great many countries on the ‘travel coriddor’ list, with more added each week. These do not require any quarantine on your return.
Q: What happens if I don’t want to pay to take a test?
A: If you choose not to take a test, for whatever reason, you would continue to quarantine for 14 days, with no test at the end.
Q: How will the government know whether I have chosen to quarantine for 5 days and take a test or for 14 days with no test?
A: Upon your return to the UK, it is mandatory to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF). For arrivals from 15thDecember, you will be asked to declare your choice. If at any point you change your mind about the 5/14 day quarantine, you will have to submit another PLF.
Q: Will travel always be like this?
A: Highly unlikely. As we move ever closer to a vaccine, this is seen as a stepping stone.
Please note this information is accurate as of 29.11.20 and is subject to change. For official government advice, please follow the link.