Since certain locations made pre-flight testing obligatory, hundreds of passengers have missed their flights because the PCR test results were not available when check-in ended and thus were denied boarding.
To address the issue, a new facility is being built that claims to perform PCR tests at Heathrow Airport— the slowest, most complicated, and most costly kind – in three hours. The processing and analysis of the tests take place on-site.
The new test, which costs £95, will allow travellers to incorporate the testing needed into airport procedures rather than scheduling an additional trip to take one. However, the testing site is situated outside of the airport, in a car parking area off Bath Road.
Randox, a biotech firm, has collaborated with Collinson Group, a test supplier with a long history at Heathrow.
Collinson’s worldwide medical director, Dr. Simon Worrell, said, “No longer do passengers need to undergo a PCR test three days before flying, risking acquiring the virus in the meantime.”
Passengers flying from Heathrow to Canada – which opened today to vaccinated tourists from across the globe – are among those who may benefit. They must still show proof of a negative molecular test, the most likely of which being PCR. Antigen (or lateral flow) tests are not accepted at the moment in Canada.
The technology will also be deployed in the coming weeks at Collinson’s drive-through facility near Gatwick.
The overwhelming majority of British tourists do not need a PCR test before departure: many countries let visitors into their countries without testing, especially if they have been vaccinated, and even those that need a negative result are willing to accept cheaper and quicker antigen tests.
What you must do is to verify in advance whether you meet the requirements for fully vaccinated travel to England.
If you have been in a red list nation or territory within the last ten days before arriving in England, the regulations are different. Whether you are completely vaccinated or not, red list regulations apply.
What Are PCR Tests?
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing are a quick and accurate method to detect infectious illnesses and genetic alterations. The tests operate by detecting pathogens (disease-causing organisms) or aberrant cell DNA or RNA in a sample.
- DNA is the genetic material that contains all living things’ instructions and information.
- Another kind of genetic material is RNA. It includes information copied from DNA and is important in the production of proteins.
If you have received all of your vaccines and satisfy the fully vaccinated criteria for travel to England, then you are only required to take one test.
How Are They Put To Use?
PCR tests are used for the following purposes:
- Certain infectious illnesses must be diagnosed.
- Determine a genetic alteration that may lead to illness.
- Find tiny quantities of cancer cells that other kinds of testing may miss.
How Do They Function?
PCR testing function as follows:
First, a blood, saliva, mucus, or tissue sample is taken. Your DNA will be present in the sample, as well as the DNA of a pathogen or cancer cell. The sample is loaded into a specialized machine. Polymerase, an enzyme, is introduced to the sample. As a result, the sample generates copies. The copying procedure is done many times. After approximately an hour, billions of copies had been created. If a virus or pathogen is present, the computer will notify you.
Before You Go To England
You must do the following before travelling to England:
- Arrange and pay for a COVID-19 test on day 2 – to be taken after arriving in England
- Complete a passenger locator form – this must be done within 48 hours of your arrival in England
On your passenger location form, insert your COVID-19 test booking reference number.
When You Arrive in England Completely Immunized.
You must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after arriving in England.
You should also have a negative test result obtained within 72 hours before departure.
If you will be in England for fewer than two days, you must still schedule and pay for a COVID-19 exam on day two. You only have to take the exam if you are still in England on the second day.
Check Your Immunization Status.
Fully vaccinated implies that you have had a full course of an authorized vaccination at least 14 days before your arrival in England. The day you received your last dosage is not one of the 14 days.
The vaccination must be given in one of two ways:
- The UK vaccination program
- An international vaccination program with authorized evidence of immunization for travel to the UK
Even if you are not completely vaccinated, you must follow the fully vaccinated guidelines if you:
- Are under the age of 18 and a resident of the UK or one of the countries or territories with approved proof of vaccination are participating in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK.
- The USA (US residents only for USA trials) cannot have a COVID-19 vaccination for a medical reason approved by a clinician under the new medical exemptions process and you are a resident of England.
Providing Proof Of Your Vaccination Status
If you have been completely vaccinated under the UK vaccination program, you may demonstrate your vaccination status by using either:
- England and Wales NHS COVID Pass
- COVIDCert NI in Northern Ireland
- NHS Scotland COVID Status app
- There are also paper certificates available.
If you were vaccinated outside of the UK, there are many methods to verify your vaccination status.
If you have not been completely immunized, this is what you must do if you do not meet the fully vaccinated requirements for travel to England.
You must do the following before traveling to England:
- Take the COVID-19 exam – you must take this three days before your trip to England.
- Arrange and pay for COVID-19 testing on days 2 and 8 — after arriving in England.
- Complete a passenger locating form within 48 hours of your arrival in England.
When You Come To England Unvaccinated.
When you arrive in England, you must do the following:
- For ten days, you must be quarantined at home or wherever you are staying.
- Take your pre-booked COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 — these tests have to be arranged before you go.
If you are in England for fewer than 10 days, you must quarantine for the duration of your stay. You are required to book in advance travel tests on days 2 and 8. You must only take the exams if you are still in England on those dates.
Requirements For Passengers Returning From Red List Countries
If you have been in a red list nation within the last ten days before arriving in England, the regulations are different.
If you have visited or travelled through a nation or territory on the red list within the last ten days before arriving in England, you will be permitted to enter the country only if you have the right to live in the UK if you are British or Irish national.