If like the rest of the UK population, you are closely monitoring the news to find out when you can travel internationally for a holiday – you will have no doubt realised that the rules and regulations around COVID-19 testing and travel are constantly changing. 

The UK Government announced in July 2020, that people who arrived in the UK from most countries would have to self-isolate for 14 full days after arrival. This quarantine time was then reduced to 10 days from the 14th December 2020. 

The Test to Release scheme was introduced by the UK Government as a way of helping people to reduce their self-isolation time when they arrive in England after international travel.  

It allows travellers who are arriving from a quarantine country (i.e. one that is not on the government’s travel corridor list) to take a COVID-19 test five days after arriving back in the UK.  If you receive a negative test result then you can stop self-isolating.

What changed in December?

Previous to the launch of the Test to Release for international travel scheme everyone travelling from non-exempt countries had to be self-isolating for 10 days from the date of their arrival.  This was quite a hard thing to do for many, as it meant they could not leave their home for a fortnight after arriving back in the UK.

With the change in the law in December 2020, everyone travelling back to England from a non-exempt country should still continue to self-isolate, but now you can opt for a ‘Test to Release’ on your passenger locator form.

You can either do this by buying private test kits from Fit2FlyTest before travelling back to the UK, or you can wait until you return and then order one – but make sure to update your passenger locator form to reflect this. 

On the fifth day after returning home, you can complete your coronavirus test at home and then return it back to us using the prepaid return label.  We aim to get your results back to you within 72 hours, giving you peace of mind that if you test negative, you can then end your isolation.

If your test result is negative, you can end your self-isolation and get back to normal life (within the rules laid down by Public Health England of course). 

What if the test is positive?

If the test is positive, then you will need to continue to self-isolate. Please check the Government website for the current COVID-19 self-isolation guidelines for more details. 

The COVID Test to Release COVID-19 PCR Test is a gold-standard PCR Test that has been analysed by Public Health England and Hampshire hospitals NHS Trust. 

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