Travellers returning to England from abroad are required to self-isolate, depending on where they’ve been and what their Covid test results show. However, for some, it may be possible to end quarantine early with a Test to Release from companies like Medicspot.
Here, we reveal everything there is to know about reducing your quarantine period if you’ve been abroad.
How long do you need to quarantine for in England?
Anyone arriving in England must quarantine for 10 days in the place that they’re staying. If you will be in England for less than 10 days, you need to quarantine for the whole of your stay. Before arriving, all travellers are required to book a compulsory test on day two and day eight — even if you won’t be in England on these dates. You only need to take the test if you’ll be here though.
If you get a positive result on the day two test, you don’t need to take a test on day eight. However, you must self-isolate for another 10 days from the moment you take the test. Anyone staying with you will also be required to quarantine.
Once you’ve quarantined for the full 10 days, and received a negative test result on both day two and eight, you can end self-isolation. This is only the case if you feel well and have no Covid symptoms.
Some people will also be exempt from England’s entry requirements depending on their job.
What is Test to Release?
The Test to Release scheme is an initiative from the government that potentially allows visitors returning to the UK to end their quarantine period early. It’s only available to those coming from an amber country though and you’ll only be allowed to stop self-isolating if your test is negative.
When do you take the Test to Release?
Upon arrival back into England, all travellers are required to take two compulsory Covid tests on day two and day eight. However, from day five, you can use a Test to Release. Even if you receive a negative test result through this, you must still take the test on day eight.
Is everyone eligible for Test to Release?
The Test to Release scheme can only be used by those travelling from or through a country on the amber list. If you’ve been to or through a red country, in the 10 days before returning to England, you cannot use these private tests.
When can you stop quarantining?
After being in England for five days, you can take a Test to Release. If this is negative, you can stop quarantining as soon as you receive the result. If the result comes back positive, you need to self-isolate for another 10 days – starting from when you took the test.
Everyone in your household should also self-isolate for 10 days if your test result comes back positive. Sometimes a test comes back inconclusive. If this is the case, you need to quarantine for 10 days too. Those with an inconclusive test can take another test though. If this is negative, you can end your quarantine period.
How do I join Test to Release?
To join the scheme, you’ll need to book a test and say that you’ll be using the scheme on the passenger locator form. This needs to be done before you return to England. You can book a Test to Release after you’ve arrived in England but you’ll need to fill in another passenger locator form.
Can you shorten the quarantine period with the NHS Test and Trace app?
No, NHS Test and Trace and Test to Release are two different programmes. Results from the former cannot be used to reduce the amount of time you are self-isolating.
Can a vaccination pass be used to end the quarantine period early?
No, unfortunately vaccination passes can only be used if countries and event venues require proof of a Covid vaccination. It cannot be used to end your quarantine period early or to stop you from having to self-isolate altogether.
It’s important to note that the Test to Release scheme is not compulsory. However, it is the only way to potentially reduce the amount of time you need quarantine for.
Entry requirements for individual territories as well as quarantine guidelines have been changing so it’s important to research where you’re travelling to before doing so. While these are the current rules at the time of writing, it could change as more countries move to the green list and others are made amber.