Good News: Test to Release strategy unveiled


This morning, the UK Government announced their ‘Test to Release for International Travel’ strategy.  Full details are available here


The key points are below:

  • ‘…from 15 December 2020, passengers arriving into England from countries not featured on the government’s travel corridor listwill have the option to take a test after 5 days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing them from the need to isolate.’

  • ‘Under the ‘Test to release for international travel’ strategy, passengers arriving into England by plane, ferry or train should
    • book their test before they travel;
    • must complete a passenger locator form; and
    • will still need to self-isolate for 5 days before taking a test – rather than taking it at their port of arrival.’

  • ‘Passengers will be able to book a test from a provider on a GOV.UK list before arriving in England. If they choose to book a test, they will need to state this on their passenger locator formprior to arriving and then go straight into self-isolation at home as usual. If they choose to opt in after arrival, they will need to resubmit their passenger locator form.’

  • ‘They can then take a test on or after day 5 of the isolation period either at home or at a private provider’s testing site, and on receipt of a negative result, can immediately finish self-isolating and return to following domestic rules.’

  • The government has considered the evidence which demonstrates that a test after 5 days of self-isolation provides materially better results than just having a test on arrival, as it allows time for the virus, should it be present, to incubate, helping reduce the risk of a false negative result.’
  • Those choosing not to take a test when arriving from a non-exempt country must continue to follow the current self-isolation requirements(2 weeks).


Please note:

  • The official government list of approved Covid Test Providers has not yet been published.  Once published, a test can then be booked directly with the provider.
  • It is optional to take the test.
  • The test is a private test that must be paid for.


If you have any questions about how this affects you, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are here to help.