Test and Release is a new scheme allowing travellers to half their time in isolation following a trip abroad.
A scheme which you can opt-in to using the passenger locator form. The Test & Release system allows you to pay for a private test in order to shorten your self-isolation period, following time in a country not on the UK’s travel corridor list.
Slash your self-isolation period
The government recently announced passengers travelling to the UK will now have to provide a negative test 72 hours before commencing their journey. Although, those travelling from countries outside of the travel corridor list are still required to self-isolate on their return to the UK, regardless of their test results.
Test & Release aims to slash self-isolation periods from 10 days to just five, as Brits can now pay to take a private test. The earliest travellers can take the test will be after at least five full days of isolation, a negative result means you can stop isolating straight away.
Inconclusive tests will not result in an end to self-isolation, in this event you should seek another test. The government have also warned all test takers should continue to isolate while waiting for results.
Failure to adhere to the rules surrounding self-isolation, following a stay in a country outside of the travel corridor, will result in a £1,000 fine. Persistent offenders could see this penalty rise to as much as £10,000.
Test and Release, though, is not available to travellers from all countries.
Boris Johnson has now updated the list of countries eligible for the scheme. Now, if you’re heading to the UK from any of these countries you’ll be required to isolate for the complete 10-day period. Regardless of a negative test taken no more than three days before their travel.
Testing positive for coronavirus as a result of your test & release exam will mean you must continue to isolate for 10 days from the day of the test.
Alternatively, if you’ve had symptoms you can start your 10 days in isolation from the day you first noticed the symptoms.
Private tests only
Those wanting to get a test booked can only do so via a government sanctioned list of providers, rather than via the NHS Test & Trace system.
Mr Johnson has stated schemes like Test & Release are in place to aid the UK’s continued defence against new strains of the COVID-19 from other countries. This follows recent viruses circulating in areas like South Africa and Brazil.