How do I get a Covid-PCR test while traveling and what else do you need to go abroad?

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How do I get a Covid-PCR test while traveling and what else do you need to go abroad? – Even if there are big questions about the summer holidays abroad, one thing is clear: there will be Covid tests.

Although some countries, like Greece, have already confirmed that fully vaccinated travelers do not need to prove a negative test, many others may still require proof that tourists do not have Covid. And since children under the age of 18 are unlikely to be targeted for long periods of time, families could expect huge additional costs to their vacation.

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On their return to the UK, travelers will undoubtedly have to try: After the resumption of international travel on May 17th, a “traffic light system” came into effect. Countries are categorized into “red”, “orange” or “green” according to the proportion of their population that has been vaccinated, their infection rates and the prevalence of the variants of interest. Even travelers from “green” countries have to pay and pass at least two tests: shortly before leaving for the UK and one on arrival.

Most countries require immigrants to provide the results of “benchmark” PCR tests, which are analyzed in the laboratory and usually provide results within 48 hours. However, a growing number of destinations, such as Italy, are also accepting certain rapid tests that give results within minutes and are often cheaper.

Here we outline how the respective tests work and what needs to be considered when booking this summer.

How do I get a PCR test for travel?

Since free NHS tests are always reserved for people with symptoms, travelers should book private tests. There are two options: Order a test kit to take at home or make an appointment at a vehicle inspection center / clinic. To streamline the process and make pricing more transparent, the government has set up an official Covid test comparison website. The new website gov.uk provides travelers with information on the cheapest, fastest and most efficient Covid testing companies in their area – prices for tests on the ‘Green List’ start at £ 54.90 and prices for tests on the Orange List range from 95 to as much as £ 575 in a Mayfair clinic.

Most homemade kits will arrive within 24 hours and must be returned the same day. They will then be analyzed in the laboratory and you should receive your results within 48 hours; different companies have different guarantees.

If your test is negative, you will need to get a certificate stating that you are free of Covid. However, concerns have been raised that they could be forged as there is no standardized certificate.

In addition, the amount of information required is not always clear in each country. Since the results of the free NHS tests are just a text message and a short email, there is no guarantee that border authorities will find this acceptable. Some companies like LloydsPharmacy, whose home kits cost £ 119, alleviate anxiety with sample certificates online that include the name, address and phone number of the laboratory and company, as well as their name and address. the beneficiary’s date of birth. In essence, the date on which the sample was taken and processed is also recorded. When ordering a kit, it is definitely worth specifying what is on your certificate.

Britain’s largest holiday operator, Tui, announced on May 6, before the government announced its Green List Countries, that travelers who book with the company would be offered trial versions for £ 20 plus half the cost of the cheapest.

The pack contains a lateral flow to be used before returning to the UK and a PCR test to be used no later than the second day of your arrival in the UK.

Otherwise, tests in clinics tend to react faster. Harley Street Health Center in London, which offers tests for £ 175, guarantees results by 8pm the next day. More generally, DocTap has a network of clinics in London and offers a variety of coronavirus tests, including an overnight option, for £ 125.

Outside the capital, Boots launched a PCR testing service in 100 stores across the country. It promises results in 48 hours and currently costs £ 99. We encourage customers to make an appointment 60 to 72 hours before their flight.

Another option is Vivo Clinics, which operates PCR testing centers in 23 cities across the UK and charges from £ 119 for their standard service or £ 144 for same day results.

The popular corona test center has five clinics in London as well as branch offices in Manchester and Birmingham. Offers a calming medical certificate signed by a doctor (from £ 145).

Gatwick has a road testing center where PCR testing costs passengers as little as £ 60, although results are usually provided the next day, which would mean two trips to the airport.

What about rapid tests?

Boots offers a quick testing service in five stores for £ 79.99 (in London, Manchester and Birmingham) and results are usually available within an hour and uploaded to an online portal.

Elsewhere, 15MinCovidTest has offices in England and offers airworthy antigen testing for £ 44.98.

Be sure to find out the exact entry requirements for the country you are visiting before booking a quick test.

How much can my test cost?

This is where things get a little murky: a quick Google search shows Home Tests on sale for £ 500. There is no doubt that analyzing the tests and returning the results in an extremely short window of time is not a cheap job, but the price differences are severe. As a guide, there seems to be a consensus on prices of around £ 120 for kits that provide results in 48 hours, with big increases for shorter turnaround times.

Many trial providers have cut the cost to around £ 60, the cheapest previously to just under £ 45, and the government has set up a comparison website to make it easy for travelers to find the cheapest trial deals in your area. A quick search shows “Green List” test prices from € 54.90 and “Orange List” test prices from € 95.

So far Tui has offered its customers the cheapest offer so far. In addition to the £ 20 green list package for tourists traveling to Amber List destinations, it offers a £ 50 package for a pre-departure lateral flow test and two PCRs entry for the second day and the eighth day of your 10-day home quarantine.

Andrew Flintham, Tui Managing Director, said, “We have always believed that cost-effective testing solutions combined with maximum flexibility would make travel possible this summer and beyond.

“Our research showed that customers were eagerly awaiting their much-needed vacation abroad, but affordable and easy testing solutions were essential.”

Nick Burnett and Dr. Alasdair Scott of C19 Testing, who charge £ 110 for a home test, say some participate in “exploitation prices”.

They say: “We work with small margins, but as a group of medical professionals we don’t want to benefit from them. Dr. Scott adds, “I wouldn’t be involved if the company wasn’t honest, transparent, and evidence-based.

Whatever the case, when choosing a test to order, it is a good idea to check to see if there are doctors involved and make sure the company is using accredited UK laboratory work.

Several airlines now have links on their websites to test suppliers and offer discounted pricing options to their customers. EasyJet has an agreement with Randox that gives passengers access to tests for £ 72 instead of the usual £ 120 price. British Airways also offers a discount code for several airlines.

Rapid private tests, done by a qualified professional, usually cost between £ 60 and £ 80.

What if your PCR results don’t arrive on time?

Since some countries, like the Seychelles and, more recently, France, require a certificate that is issued no more than 48 hours before departure, the time is running out.

Most companies guarantee a delivery time of 48 hours, although it is worth checking the terms as some offer a long window of time. LloydsPharmacy, for example, promises a “within three working days” certificate. If results are delayed, which is not common, there is not much you can do. Trial companies should (and usually do) offer full refunds, but without a certification, travel plans must be changed or canceled.

However, for late planners and victims of laboratory error, some companies offer same-day results. London General Practice offers test submission 24/7 and promises same day results if swabs are returned before 7am. The service also includes a follow-up video consultation with a doctor and costs £ 315.

For an on-site last minute PCR test, Fleet Street Clinic guarantees same day results with a “typical response time of two to six hours” for £ 495.

How accurate are PCR tests?

There is some debate about the accuracy of home testing versus testing in a clinic as people can get the test wrong on their own. However given

It is not known how quickly you could be positive after exposure to the virus. The NHS says the optimal time to test is within the first five days of symptoms, with less clarity about presymptomatic or asymptomatic symptoms. So it is not unthinkable that you have your current coronavirus certificate but then show symptoms on the way to the airport.

What proof do I need when I return to the UK?

As detailed above, travelers returning to the UK will be required to pay for a series of tests both before departure and on arrival. Travelers from countries on the “Green List” must take a CRP test on their return to Great Britain (no later than the second day), while travelers from countries in the “Orange” or “Red” countries must complete two PCR tests. PCR (one on or before the second day and another on the eighth day). All travelers are required to pass a pre-departure test before returning to the UK.

The government has confirmed that people who have been vaccinated are not exempt from testing as new variants may appear in “Green List” countries.

Here we outline how the respective tests work and what needs to be considered when booking this summer.