Travellers arriving in England to have the ability to reduce quarantine in the event that they pay for coronavirus take a look at

How will the scheme work?

Under the new rules, passengers who arrive from a foreign country that’s not on the Government’s travel corridor list will need to enter self-isolation on return to England for at least five days before they can be tested. This is because coronavirus can have an incubation period before it’s detected.

The Government advises you book coronavirus tests before you travel to ensure you can take it on the fifth day after arrival. So if you arrive on a Sunday, for example, you can take your test on the following Friday. 

You can book a test from a recommended provider, which will be listed on Gov.uk (it’s not live yet). Do this prior to arrival and you need to state it on your passenger locator form and then go straight into self-isolation at home for at least the first five days. Opt in for the test after arrival 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. It typically takes 24 to 48 hours from taking the test to get the result, which means you’ll likely halve your isolation period to around six to seven days. 

If the result is positive, self-isolation will be needed. In line with NHS guidance, if you had coronavirus symptoms before you took your test and it’s positive, you’ll need to isolate for ten days from when they started. If you get symptoms after your test, self-isolate for ten days from when your symptoms started. If you don’t show any symptoms but have a positive test (asymptomatic) you need to self-isolate for ten days from taking the test.  

Tests can be booked privately from a range of retailers but can be expensive. A test in-store at Boots, for example, costs £120.

The rules take force from 15 December, but you can benefit if you arrive before then as long as you you take the test from 15 December. For example, if you arrive on 10 December, you can take the test on the 15 December.

Do I have to pay for a test?

If you don’t wish to pay for a test, you’ll have to self-isolate for the full 14 days. In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can receive a fixed penalty notice of £1,000 for a first offence, increasing to £2,000 for any second offence. Further repeat offences will attract penalties of £4,000 and then £10,000 for each repeat offence.

These new rules are set to apply in England only, so if you live elsewhere in the UK, you’ll also have to self-isolate for 14 days on your return, although bear in mind Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have established their own separate travel corridors to England.

You won’t need a test if you come into England from a country on the Government’s travel corridor safe list. 

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