BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
What to do before travelling to England
Before you travel to the UK you must:
- Take an approved COVID-19 test in the 3 days before your departure and provide a negative result. You must provide the proof to the company you’re travelling with eg. airline, train operator etc. The proof must be in English. Spanish or French.
- Check which colour travel corridor (red, amber or green) your departure country is on the UK Government’s website.
- Book and pay for your 2 and 8 day RT-PCR travel tests. You will receive a unique booking reference number when these are ordered.
- Complete an online passenger locator form including details of: where you will self isolate, your travel details including times and dates, your travel test booking reference number and test provider for your 2 quarantine coronavirus tests, if applicable the booking reference number for your day 5 coronavirus Test to Release swab if you would like to end self-isolation early.
If you are returning from a country which is not on the UK Government’s red list, you are eligible to shorten your 10-day quarantine period with our RT-PCR Test to Release on Day 5. You must still do the Day 8 test. Full details can be found on the Government website here.
NB: Children under 5 do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test.
The COVID-19 Day 2 and Day 8 test requires a combined nose/throat swab sample to be collected and sent back to our Government approved, UKAS accredited UK laboratory for testing.
Purchasing a Coronavirus COVID-19 home testing kit from MTD gives you peace of mind that you are dealing directly with the laboratory that is carrying out the test. All of our swab kits are tested at our laboratories and the results individually interpreted by our scientists.
MTD conduct the RT-qPCR test, which is the ‘gold standard’ — the highest sensitivity technique and approved by the Government and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to be used by the general public. The swab test is able to detect all currently known variants of COVID-19.
This test is capable of detecting low infection 2 levels at an early stage in the infections growth and has the lowest occurrence of incorrect results 1, 3 (false positive or false negative) of any of the tests currently available. Many fast tests including Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) only detect high levels of infection, missing lower levels.
1. Diagnostic testing and screening for SARS-CoV-2, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. 2. Options for the use of rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK: Technical Report, European Centre of Disease Prevention And Control. 3. UK abandons school Covid monitoring as testing devices divide public health scientists: Chemistry World, 25th January 2021.
Your tests will be sent in accordance with Government guidelines. We will dispatch your test kit to you by tracked delivery on the day before you arrive in the UK. It should arrive on Day 0, the day you arrive in the UK.
Using the easy-to-follow instructions provided, complete the form, take the sample as instructed and seal the contents of the kit in the plastic bag provided then pop it all into the courier paid return packaging. We will email you to acknowledge safe receipt of your test.
Each Swab Kit* contains:
- Easy to follow instructions
- Easy to use swab inside a sealed wrapper
- Sample vial tube with liquid (taken swab goes into this and snaps off at break point – dispose of remains of swab).
- Self-seal clear plastic bag (to place vial in)
- Zip clear plastic bag (to place sealed plastic bag with vial in into)
- A tracked, postage paid box to return your sample to our laboratory
Samples can be rejected for testing if they are not supplied correctly (i.e. no swab in tube, no liquid in tube, damage/leaking in transit).
NB: To ensure the lab receives a ‘good’ swab to test, the swab transport vial tube contains a liquid which both deactivates (kills) the virus and also makes sure the RNA (genetic material which includes any virus) is stabilised. This allows it to be transported at room temperature without degradation (as long as not exposed to temperature greater than 28°C). Please ensure that the liquid remains within the tube and is not spilt during the collection process.
*Packaging displayed is indicative only and may vary from that received.
Results will be emailed to the nominated recipient within 24 hours after receipt of the test sample at our laboratories. An official lab report will be made available to you, to serve as proof of your result.
Results will fall into one of three categories:
- Negative (Not Detected)
- Positive (Detected)
The lab is not able to provide results interpretation or offer advice. We recommend that you follow government guidelines for any tests that are positive.
COVID-19 is a notifiable disease which means that it’s a legal requirement to inform Public Health. The tested person must make the notification. Therefore, for any positive result that person needs to contact their NHS119 to explain they have had a screening COVID-19 PCR test which has been positive. That person needs to isolate immediately and follow current medical guidance. Additionally, we are legally required to notify the Department of Health and may require the tested person to provide additional information.
In accordance with the UK Government’s guidelines, if you test negative for COVID-19 on Day 2 or Day 8 you must continue to self-isolate for the full 10 days.
You can only shorten your self-isolation period if you test negative with our Test to Release which can b used after you have been in England for 5 full days. This is a separate test which you can order here.
If you test positive you must self-isolate for 10 days from the day after your test date.
The people you’re staying with do not need to quarantine, unless:
- they travelled with you
- you or someone in the place where you’re staying develop symptoms of coronavirus.
Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form is an offence punishable by imprisonment. You could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years or both if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.
If you break the quarantine rules, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
Please check the Government website for further information.
No, you must stay in quarantine until day 10 even if your day 8 test is negative.
If you would like to end your quarantine early you can use our Test to Release home swab kit and if the result is negative, you can stop quarantining.
You cannot take the Test to Release test until you have been in England for 5 full days and cannot use the Test to Release scheme if you have been in or through any country that is on the travel ban red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England.