Masks, tests, social distancing and quarantines are an important part of your travel routine in the year 2020. To make your traveling safe again, some countries are now adopting a “negative test on arrival” policy so that the visitors can have a quarantine-free stay and lessen the risks posed to residents.
But it is not very simple like booking or ordering the first test and then done with it. Different elements should be taken into consideration that include – the kind of test needed, how much time you require for the test before your arrival and which tests will be accepted by the country you want to visit.
What kind of tests are there?
- PCR tests – Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR test is the one that most countries need you to be taken. These are the most popular kind of tests as the results will come from the laboratory examinations. These will be provided to you through the NHS if you are having the symptoms, through at-home testing or private clinics. However, you should not use the NHS testing service for your travel-related testing needs.
- Antigen tests – Antigen tests can help you with positive or negative results and are processed much quickly through the traces in saliva when compared to in-nose swabs. These tests will less likely be accepted at the time of delivering the test results on your arrival.
- Antibody tests – The only tests that are there on the U.K. government’s website are antibody tests and PCR virus tests. While an antibody test is not effective for travel purposes, it will only denote if you had the virus earlier. On the other hand, the PCR virus test is said to be the most important for travelers and the one that countries will require you before entering.
Which destinations will require a test for your entry?
The most suitable way to check is by browsing through the gov.uk website for the entry requirements of the country that you want to visit. Based on your specific destination, it will specify that a PCR test is needed and others may just say consider it to be ‘a test’.
Some countries will be taking one step ahead by stating that the PCR test should be conducted by a health professional at the clinic and not at home by using a self-test kit.
The U.K. government gives emphasis on the fact that the NHS tests should not be used for your travel-related tests. You must perform a private test for fulfilling your travel requirements.
Still, there are some countries that do not require a test for entry, but many of them need some quarantine when you reach the destination.
By considering the fact that there are just a handful of destinations left that the government finds safe for COVID-19 test for travel to without quarantining on either end. Some of these are the following:
- Cuba won’t require proof of the negative PCR test for U.K. arrivals. So, the passengers will be tested for free on their arrival;
- Maldives does require the proof of a negative PCR test for U.K. arrivals;
- The Madeira (Portugal) and Azores will need a pre-departure test for the U.K. arrivals;
- Cyprus will need proof of a negative PCR test for the U.K. arrivals;
- The Canary Islands (Spain) does not need proof of a negative PCR test for U.K. arrivals;
- St Barthélemy will need proof of a negative PCR test for the U.K. arrivals;
- Germany does require the proof of a negative test for U.K. arrivals;
- Sweden does not require any negative test for the U.K. arrivals.
- Gibraltar will not need any proof of a negative PCR test for the U.K. arrivals;
- Greece does not need to conduct a pre-departure test for U.K. arrivals. Hence, the passengers might be asked to take a test on their arrival;
Some destinations will be having extra requirements for the test. For example, the Republic of Cyprus government needs that the date and time for the test to be conducted must be noted on the results or appointment letter. This should be loaded onto the Cyprus Flight Pass website at least 24 hours before your flight takes off.
How long before traveling should you conduct the test?
In most cases, the destinations will require you take your test within 72 hours at the most of your departure time from the U.K. For certain destinations, the number is higher like the Maldives, which is usually 96 hours.
The trick is to conduct a test and the get the results within the specified time. The best advice would be to take your test within 72 hours from your flight so that you can get the maximum amount of time for receiving your results before you fly.
Where is the best place for your test?
According to the website of U.K. government, NHS tests should not be used for traveling to a foreign country. When you should perform the test depends on how convenient it will be for you to reach somewhere and how much time you will have till your travel. For example, if you need to fly on a Monday, by turning around over the weekend means your test should not be done in the laboratory within the specified time to get your results before your flight.
If the destination enables for an at-home test, then this will provide you with the list of private surgery and several online options. In order to narrow down your choices, select from in-person collection and online ordering options so that the staffs as well as readers can have had different experiences while using them.
Thus, you will have to book your appointment for PCR swab test in London for travel and know if you have been infected with the deadly virus.