If you are anything like me – a lover of all things travelling, exploring, and holidaying – I’m sure you’ve also got the 17th May on your mind at the moment. I’m dreaming about where I’ll hopefully be able to travel to over summer… Greece, Italy, Spain? All of the above? Yes please!
As it is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays from England, the UK Government’s roadmap for exiting lockdown states that we’ll find out more about global travel restrictions on April 12th, with international travel restrictions from England not being lifted until 17th May at the earliest.
While I’m extremely hopeful that we will all be able to go abroad in a few months, we need to remember the impact of our holidays last summer, where our travelling caused a new wave of covid infections. This year, with the added worry of the different variants to think about, we need to travel as responsibly and as safely as possible.
The UK Government has said that the rollout of the vaccine is essential to determining whether we’ll be able to have a summer holiday. We believe that widespread covid testing is as important as the vaccine for many reasons, including the uncertainties of whether the vaccines help to reduce the transmission of coronavirus, whether the vaccines protect us from the foreign variants of covid, and also the fact many young people will not have received one or both doses of the vaccine before September.
This is where the Travel Testing Package comes into play!
On 15th February, the UK Government announced that all international travellers arriving in England are required to:
- take two coronavirus tests on day 2 and day 8 via a Travel Testing Package
- quarantine for 10 days
- and follow the national lockdown rules
The Travel Testing Package is for international travellers arriving in England from countries that are not on the UK’s travel ban red list. Travellers should follow separate guidance if they have been in OR through a country where travel to the UK is banned. You should follow separate advice if you need to quarantine in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
What do you need to do before travelling to England?
The UK government requires travellers to book and pay for a Travel Testing Package from a private provider, like from us, at Project Screen. Similarly to when the UK Government launched the Test to Release scheme on 15th December 2020, we have been included as one of the initial UK Gov approved private providers for the Travel Testing Package.
The Package will include two COVID-19 tests to be taken on day 2 and day 8 of your quarantine, for variant surveillance purposes. Travellers must complete a passenger locator form at least 48 hours before arriving, with the details of where you will be quarantining when you arrive, and the Travel Testing Package booking reference number. After placing your order, you’ll find the reference number for your package on the Order Confirmation screen of our app. You will also receive an Order Confirmation email that includes your reference number.
Now you’ve arrived in England… what next?
When you arrive in England, you must travel directly to the place you are staying and not leave until at least 10 days have passed. The day you arrive in England is treated as day 0 of your quarantine period.
We will send your Travel Testing Package via Royal Mail Tracked 24 to the address on your order, please make sure this is the address for where you are quarantining. We dispatch the two test kits to arrive on or before day 2 of your quarantine, assuming you have placed your order at least 3 business days before arriving in England.
It’s day 2 of your quarantine, so it’s time to take your first COVID-19 test…
Our COVID-19 tests are gold-standard, highest accuracy RT-PCR tests. We provide everything you need for a stress-free sample collection. After activating your kit, you’ll find simple, easy-to-follow instructions for how to complete your self-collection coronavirus test in around 30 seconds. The test is a swab-based sample collection method that collects cells from the back of the throat and the nose, to help diagnose whether you are currently infected with coronavirus.
Seal your swab and place the completed swab in the clear sample bag and pop everything into the Return Mailer. We have multiple options for how you can post your sample to our laboratory for analysis – you can learn more about our sample return options here. We recommend using the free Royal Mail return mailer which you can drop off at a priority postbox found across England, for collection Monday to Saturday.
Once we’ve received your sample at our laboratory, we will analyse your swab, and provide your results securely online within 24 hours. You will be notified via email when your results are ready.
If your day 2 results are positive, we will undertake further analysis of your sample for variant detection. Don’t worry, we sort and cover the cost of the genomic sequencing if it is required. You must quarantine for 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken, so this means until day 13. If you get a positive result from your day 2 test, you do not need to complete the day 8 test.
If your results are negative, we move on to your second COVID-19 test on day 8…
For your day 8 COVID-19 test, you simply need to follow the same procedure as day 2 for completing your self-collection swab, posting the sample to our lab, and waiting to receive your results. If you receive a positive result from your day 8 test you will need to quarantine until day 19.
However, if you’ve quarantined for 10 days and got negative COVID-19 results for both your day 2 and day 8 tests, you may leave the place where you are quarantining and get back to living your life!
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering about the Test to Release scheme and how that fits in with this package?
Travellers can still use the Test to Release for international travel scheme, which allows you to take an additional PCR Covid test on day 5 of your quarantine. With Project Screen, you can select between doing a Test to Release test via our at-home test kit or by booking a test at one of our test pods, which are popping up at multiple locations in England. If your day 2 and day 5 results are negative, you can end your quarantine period early. You still will need to do the second Travel Testing Package test on day 8. This means in total if you decide to use the Test to Release scheme, you will be doing 3 Covid tests in total on day 2, day 5 and day 8.
So in summary – follow these six simple steps:
- Order your Travel Testing Package before flying to England
- Receive your 2 covid tests on or before day 2 of quarantine
- Test on day 2 and day 8 and post your samples to our lab for analysis
- Receive your results within 24hrs
- End your self-isolation if both day 2 and day 8 results are negative and you’ve quarantined for 10 days
- You can end your quarantine early by doing an extra PCR test as part of the Test to Release scheme
Why test with Project Screen?
Since April last year, we have been at the forefront of coronavirus testing in the UK and abroad. Our core business’ mission has always been to make complex science and health information accessible via a range of innovation DNA and blood self-collection test kits, via our two consumer brands, DNAfit and CircleDNA. In April 2020, we adapted and evolved into coronavirus testing taking advantage of our laboratory network, scientific expertise, and digital systems to deliver world-leading SARS-CoV-2 testing solutions. We’ve delivered over 1,000,000 tests across multiple sites including the world’s biggest sporting leagues and governing bodies, film and TV productions, and aviation providers. Together, we can get back to work, travel and play!