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The UK Government has introduced strict testing and quarantine rules for travellers returning to the UK, as international travel starts to open up more and more in the coming months.

From February 15th this year (2021) anyone travelling to the UK from a country that is not on the red list must take a COVID test before they start their journey – and not more than three days before. After they arrive back in the UK they must quarantine for ten days and take tests on day 2 and day 8 in that period.

What is the purpose of Day 2 and Day 8 testing?

The purpose of the day 2 test is for COVID-19 variant surveillance, and it is a gene sequencing test that has to be completed by a specialist laboratory, such as Fit2Fly’s Versalab. If your Day 2 test is positive for COVID-19 then we will perform testing on the virus sample you provided us with to determine the exact strain of the virus.

The purpose of the day 8 test is to check whether you have COVID-19 or not.

When should I take the Day 2 and Day 8 tests?

Once you return to the UK from a country on the amber list, you will need to quarantine for ten days at home – unless you are exempt. During this time, you will need to take two PCR ‘fit to fly’ tests, one on day 2 after your return (with your arrival day being day 0) and one on day 8.

To do this, you need to:

  • Head to the Order Test section of our website and select the Day 2 and Day 8 Testing Kits package
  • Fill in your billing information
  • Fill in the passenger details form – including your NHS number (if known), the date of your arrival into the UK, your flight number and the country your journey originated from
  • You will receive your Day 2 test on or before day 2 of your isolation, and your Day 8 test on day 8
  • Follow the instructions included to take your tests, and then return them to our lab using the prepaid address label, you will then receive your results within 24 hours of us receiving your sample

It is advisable to book your Day 2 and Day 8 tests in advance of your planned travel abroad so that you can be sure they will arrive on time for when you need them. Just make sure you enter your details into the passenger details section when ordering your kits and we will take care of the rest.

Do I need to enter anything on my Passenger Locator Form?

Yes, the UK Government requires you to enter your unique Day 2 and Day 8 Test reference numbers on your Passenger Locator Form before you arrive back in the UK.

Do the quarantine and testing requirements change if I am travelling back from a red country?

Yes. If you are travelling back to the UK from a country on the red list, then you are required by law to self-isolate for ten days in a managed quarantine hotel, at a cost of around £1750 per person.

If you are returning to the UK from a country that is on the amber list, then you should follow the instructions for testing on day 2 and day 8 (with your arrival day being day 0). You can self-isolate in your own home, and are also able to shorten your quarantine, potentially, through our Test to Release.

The Test to Release test, which is taken on day 5, will allow you to legally stop self-isolating if you receive a negative test result.

What do my test results mean?

If you receive a positive result on your Day 2 test, then you must continue to self-isolate for 10 days from the day you receive your test result. Your sample will then be referred for further testing, and you won’t need to take a Day 8 test.

If you receive a positive result on your Day 8 test, then you must continue to self-isolate for 10 days from the day you receive your test result.

If you test negative on either your Day 2 or Day 8 test, then in accordance with government guidelines you must still self-isolate for the remainder of the ten days. You can only shorten your quarantine period if you have returned from a country that is not on the red list, by taking our Test to Release.

Can I reduce my quarantine period?

Yes, you can, by taking another test – the Test to Release test. This is an optional test, not a mandatory one.

Once you are back in the UK, you can reduce your self-isolation period with the Test to Release scheme, using a PCR test from government-approved provider Fit2FlyTest. On the fifth day after you arrive back in the UK, you can take your test and if it comes back with a negative result you can leave your quarantine early – but you must still take your Day 8 test just in case.

Why should I choose Fit2FlyTest for my Day 2 and Day 8 tests?

Fit2FlyTest has been providing gold-standard government-approved PCR fit to fly tests since the beginning of the pandemic. We understand better than anyone that you want fast and accurate results from a laboratory you can trust.

We also have a customer care team on hand to answer any questions you might have, as well as a long list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on our site.

How do I order my Day 2 and Day 8 tests?

To find out more about testing on day 2 and day 8 and to order your testing kits, please visit our “Order Test” page.

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