How does the Test to Release scheme work?
Under the new rules, passengers arriving from a foreign country that is not on the government’s travel corridor list must self-isolate upon their return to England for at least five days before they can be tested. This is because the coronavirus can have an incubation period before being detected.
The government advises you to book the coronavirus test before traveling to the UK to ensure you can do it on the fifth day after arrival. If you arrive on a Sunday, for example, you can take your test the following Friday.
You can book a test from any of the providers listed on the government website. Do this before you arrive and you must indicate this on your passenger locator form, then self-isolate directly at home for at least the first five days. Go for the test after you arrive and you will need to resubmit your passenger locator form detailing this and self-isolate until you get the test result.
Once you have the result, you can leave isolation as long as the result is negative. Since it usually takes 24 to 48 hours to get the test result, you will likely reduce your isolation period to around six to seven days.
If the result is positive, self-isolation will be necessary. According to NHS guidelines, if you had symptoms of coronavirus before taking your test and it is positive, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days from when they started. If you have symptoms after your test, self-isolate for ten days from the onset of symptoms. If you have no symptoms but have a positive (asymptomatic) test, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the test.
It should be noted that this test is only intended for those looking to avoid quarantine after being abroad and cannot be used to cut out self-isolation as advised by NHS Test and Trace or the app. Covid-19. You can also only use one of the providers on the government list – and if you use an NHS test to end your period of holiday self-isolation, you could be fined (see below below).