Day 2 tests: Antigens accepted by England from October 24, just in time for school holidays

England is now requiring travelers to do an antigen test upon arrival, rather than a more expensive PCR test. The new regulation announced …

England is now requiring travelers to do an antigen test upon arrival, rather than a more expensive PCR test. The new regulation announced yesterday will take effect on October 24th.

Although called the “Day 2 Test,” it can actually be done on or before Day 2, as we revealed last month. Day 0 is the day you land in the UK, so you effectively have 3 days to get an antigen test.

The change applies to fully vaccinated travelers and most under 18s entering England from non-red list countries. Those arriving from countries on the Red List must go to managed quarantine hotels for 10 days and do a PCR test on or before the second day – and on or after the eighth day of quarantine. These are included in your hotel package.

Where can I have a lateral flow test carried out?

Day two lateral flow tests from private providers can be booked here from October 22nd.

It is important to remember that free NHS tests and trace tests are not for travel.

The airlines are delighted with the news, saying it will be a relief for families who previously had to spend hundreds on PCR testing.

How will the new lateral flow system work?

From October 24th, travelers must take a photo of their completed lateral flow test in addition to the booking reference of the testing company. This should then be sent back to you to check the result.

You will also need to fill out a passenger locator form.

And if you don’t want to wait until day two to be back in the country, this trick might help you. It is within the rules that must be tested once you land at the airport. Most UK airports have test centers.

As before, if you test positive, you will need to self-isolate and then do a PCR test when you feel ready to confirm that you have COVID.

“Tests, along with vaccines, remain one of our first lines of defense against Covid-19,” says Dr. Jenny Harries, Managing Director of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

“Taking a test as early as possible upon arrival and isolating if necessary, can help control the spread of the virus and protect one another.”

Lateral flow tests will replace PCR tests on day 2 for passengers travelling to England.

How has the travel industry reacted to the news?

The rule change will come as welcome news to the thousands of British travellers booked to go abroad. The UK’s testing rules have been viewed as especially unfair to families, who have to pay for testing for multiple people.

They will now pay less after returning from breaks during the half-term school holiday

The airline industry is similarly pleased with the boost it will bring in bookings. “This is great news and we’re pleased to get it over the line in time for the crucial half-term period, which will be a massive relief to families desperate to get away this autumn,” says Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airlines UK.

“Vaccinated passengers can be reassured that they do not need to book or take an expensive PCR test when they return to the UK, which will further reduce the cost of travel.”

Passengers will be queuing up to go on half-term holiday with the new travel rules.

How much were PCR tests in the past?

In the past, the UK’s PCR testing system has been criticised for having “excessive” pricing and being “exploitative”. As the average test would cost £75 (€89) per person, a family of four would end up having to pay a minimum of £300 (€355) on top of flights and accommodation for just a week’s holiday.

“Expensive PCR tests have been a major financial and logistical barrier to business and leisure travel, and the BTA welcomes their long overdue removal,” Business Travel Association chief executive Clive Wratten agrees.

The new rules currently only apply in England – not yet in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland as policy on travel is devolved in the UK nations.

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