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Here are the full guidelines for the new Day 2 lateral flow tests

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Late on Thursday night, the Government announced that lateral flow tests would be accepted from 24th October for the majority of people entering England.

More information has now been published, allowing us to flesh out the details.

Remember that this information only applies to people entering England. The devolved administrations have their own policies.

What's the small print on the introduction of Day 2 lateral flow tests?

What is a Day 2 test?

A ‘Day 2’ test is the covid test that everyone, including children of five years and older, is obliged to take within two full calendar days of entering England.

You do NOT need to take the test on Day 2. You can take it on Day 0 (many people take one at the airport as soon as they pass through immigration), Day 1 or Day 2.

What is changing?

From 24th October, most people entering England can take a cheaper lateral flow test instead of a pricier – but more accurate – PCR test.

To take advantage of this:

  • you must be ‘fully vaccinated’ under the Government definition (your vaccine must be on the prescribed list, the course must have been completed within a fixed period before entering England and you must have received your vaccine in one of the 100+ countries where the Government recognises the integrity of the local vaccination programme)
  • you must not be entering England from a ‘Red List’ country or have visited one in the previous 10 days before your arrival in the UK – although if you were, you would be undergoing hotel quarantine in any case

What should my unvaccinated children do?

Children under 18 are treated as ‘fully vaccinated’ – and so eligible to take a lateral flow test – irrespective of the status of the adults they are travelling with.

All children aged five and above must take a ‘Day 2’ test. No tests are required for children aged four and under.

What happens if I am not ‘fully vaccinated’ but not entering from a ‘Red List’ country?

You must:

  • take a ‘fit to fly’ pre-departure test before boarding a flight to England
  • take a PCR test – not lateral flow – within two full calendar days of arriving in the UK
  • undergo 10 days of self-isolation
  • take a ‘Day 8’ PCR test, with the option of paying for an additional ‘Test to Release’ on Day 5

When does this take effect on 24th October?

It is not clear. In the absence of any specific time, you should assume it applies to all aircraft that land after 00:00.

What's the small print on the introduction of Day 2 lateral flow tests?

How do I get a lateral flow test kit?

As with the existing PCR tests, these must be purchased from a private provider before entering the UK. The reference number for your purchase must be added to your Passenger Locator Form.

Apparently unlicenced lateral flow test kits are accepted

The Government is allowing tests to be sold which do not meet the required standards because there is a shortage of high quality lateral flow test kits in the UK. To quote from gov.uk:

“The government will extend regulations and publish protocol to allow some tests supplied to the private testing market that are pending validation to remain on the market in the short term. This is to address any potential shortage of supply while work continues at pace to ensure only high-performing tests are ultimately approved to remain on the UK market.”

When can I purchase a qualifying test?

Kits will be available to purchase from 22nd October.

The Government will publish a list of approved suppliers but you are not obliged to use a supplier on that list.

How do I submit my test result?

The Government has stated that a photograph of the test cartridge, uploaded to a platform run by your test provider, is acceptable as proof of a negative test.

Can I still submit a PCR test, as I have already bought a kit?

Yes

What happens if my lateral flow test is positive?

You should order a confirmatory PCR test via the NHS and self-isolate for 10 days from the date that you first experienced symptoms. It is not 10 days from when you tested positive.

You can find out more on this page of gov.uk. You should obviously double-check the information in this article with gov.uk if it impacts you in any way.

Comments (132)

  • Ottavio Nuccio says:

    In countries where coming from the UK you need to present a LFT, for example Italy, I always use the NHS kit but let Klarity Health issue an official certificate for 9,95 GBP (11,50 EUR). Of course nobody knows that this is a test kit from the NHS. You make a video through their app then pause it during the 15 minutes waiting time, then send a picture of the result as well as a picture of your passport. Certicifate received within 5 minutes. I’m pretty sure the Day2 LFT test won’t have that pricing. All this testing is nothing else than a “UK entry levy”. Instead of paying for ESTA to enter the US, anyone will have to get used to it to pay a kind of 10-20 GBP levy to enter the UK.

    • Ben says:

      So you are publicly admitting to defrauding the NHS, to save money on your personal travel?

      @Rob suggest you remove this post as Ottavio is highly identifiable.

    • Ottavio Nuccio says:

      Why do you think this? I still pay for receiving the test result with a private provider. I don’t go to a UK pharmacy, do the test, go to the airport saying that I have no test and that I will quarantaine upon arrival in my country and at arrival in my home country I take out my NHS result.
      I show the certificate of the private provider and the test kit could be from anywhere. It is not written inside that the kit that it is from the NHS, only outside on the package. Could have brought them from anywhere else, where it is also free. Thank God I just needed it 3 times so far. That’s why I’m also not scared to put my full name under this post. I have already had 10 (!!) UK quarantines so far between Oct 2020 and June 2021 after returning to the UK because I have to fly every 3 weeks home to work and have always paid for my tests and did my quarantines. When travelling into a country where an extra test is needed the UK does not ask where the test is from. I, for example, have not written multiple times my same PCR reference number at the various PLFs. Would have saved me, so far, a huge amount of money. But feel free to delete my post.

      • Ottavio Nuccio says:

        But I appreciate, Ben, your concerns on putting my full name. Thanks.
        The LFTs from Flowflex are exactly the same in Austria and as well free. I think I would anyway not have a proof that my LFTs are / were / will be from Austria and not from the NHS

  • Sammyj says:

    Slightly O/T… how reliable are Randox these days for pre-travel tests?

    Flying to Spain at 6am Saturday with 2 teens who need PCR/LAMP for entry.

    I’ve got a couple of Randox fit-to-fly tests in the cupboard from a previous cancelled trip. If I drop-box these Wed afternoon, what are my chances of getting a result by Friday night? Any recent experiences?

  • QFFlyer says:

    A photograph 😂 that’s not open to abuse at all

  • Jody says:

    Just found that you can order the day 2 LFT tests on Testing For All website for £19 each. Am sure they’ll be cheaper ones available, however I need the number for Friday as we get on a cruise ship then, and they’re being a bit unreasonable and insisting on seeing completed PLF forms.

    Seems legit, you get the PLF number you need with the order confirmation page on the website, and also via email.

    I noticed that Randox said theirs will be from £20 – coming soon! I didn’t think they were going to be made available until 22nd, so a little bit surprised to find them on the site I did. Paid on credit card, so can always charge back if something goes wrong.

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