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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)

  • david says:

    Im I right in thinking Chronomics £23.50 is cheapest w/out airline code?

    • Mark says:

      They were the cheapest we found for DIY lateral flows… assuming they don’t charge differently for day 2 tests. We have unused Chronomics return tests, which I’m hoping they may issue codes for.

      • Let's fly says:

        Simplytestme.co.uk are saying it’ll be £9. I used thrm for return to UK when that was a thing…

        • OCN says:

          Looks that they had a bit of an inflation rise in the last couple of days as the actual price on their website is £12:))

          • Let's fly says:

            🙂 still seem to be the cheapest unless you can point me to a cheaper option?

          • OCN says:

            You are absolutely right. The GOV website doesn’t even work properly to check today, but this really seems to be the less expensive right now.

  • ChrisW says:

    A “shortage of high quality lateral flow tests in the UK’. The exact same lateral flow tests that Qured sell for £33 are available at supermarkets in Portugal for €2. But these cannot be used! I cannot recall a UK government policy in recent memory that has been so universally panned by the general public yet the government continues with it, month after month purely for the financial benefit of a small number of private companies.

    When filling in your Passenger Locator Form online before travel, the form will auto-suggest previous entries. Just start typing the first letter of whatever test provider you have used for your Day 2 test in the past (i.e. Randox is “R”) and it will show a drop-down of previous test reference numbers you gave used. Select one of them and off you go. I have done this numerous times with no issue and will continue to do so.

    No one checks or cares if you do your Day 2 test. All they care about is the PLF producing a QR code for travel.

    I have spent many hundreds of pounds on these stupid tests this year and am now very comfortable no longer doing so.

    • Stu287 says:

      Completely agree ^^^^

    • Robin says:

      Good for you ! At least 2 of the gov approved PCR companies are run by former Vote Leave directors. Why give those charlatan Brexiteers our cash?

    • TimM says:

      Willie Walsh calls the new regime, “A state-sponsored rip-off”.

    • sayling says:

      Bit of a strawman poll there, though?

      “Universally moaned and whinged about by those travellers in my social circles and the travel industry as a whole” is probably more accurate.

      I hope people like Simon on Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport feel the full weight of the law

    • David S says:

      + 1 for being able to buy tests for 2 Euros in Portugal from almost any supermarket.

      • JDB says:

        They are €2 in Portugal because they are subsidised by the state! In this country the LF tests are currently free, just not for travellers. Other countries, eg France and Germany are phasing out the free tests because it is too costly.

        • Lady London says:

          All right, 5 euros for a pack of 2 in Lidl in Germany then! no signs of subsidy there

  • meta says:

    They are on sale already. I got an email from Testing for all yesterday. They are £19. Not sure if the cheapest.

    • Toomanylogins says:

      Testing for All state they are a not for profit company too if that helps re some of the comments above. I used them for a PCR test a couple of weeks ago and they were good.

      • meta says:

        I don’t believe it. Anyone can set up a non-profit linked to for-profit company to which it pays money for rent/management/consultancy, etc.

  • Sandgrounder says:

    https://www.simplytestme.co.uk/
    Posted by ‘Let’s Fly’ yesterday, not quite on sale yet though.
    £9

    • TimM says:

      I have a feeling that unless the people behind SimplyTestMe are very well connected to the Tory party, they will not be approved. They would take the wind out of the sails of all those who are. We shall see.

  • Nick says:

    Kids aged 5 and up (with fully vaccinated parents) now need a day 2 test???? This was not the case until now.

    Why the change?

    • EvilDoctorK says:

      It was actually the case that 5+ needed the PCR tests in the past .. but there was nowhere on the PLF form to indicate it until they were over 12 (?) .. so therefore nobody cared .. but the law was they had to have them from 5 years old.

      Not very logical, but that’s how it didn’t work .. no idea if they’ll update the PLF so 5+ years old need to enter a ref number now .. probably not !

      • Nick says:

        Family traveled in July 2021 from an amber lost country. Almost certain it was explicitly stated that the 8 year old did not need any test. (Not the lateral 3 days before travel and also not the day 2 pcr)

        • J says:

          The 8 year old would have needed the day 2 PCR, but not the pre flight lateral flow. But it’s not something that was checked.

        • Crafty says:

          Nick, unfortunately you are wrong and your child travelled illegally.

      • Rob says:

        Absolutely was the case. I have been using them all Summer for my 10 year old.

      • Anna says:

        There’s nowhere to put a test reference number for anyone apart from the person filling in the form, you can add up to 4 other passengers up up the age of 17.

        • Rob says:

          Correct. But that is totally separate from your legal requirement to buy the kids a test.

  • MikeL says:

    It’s now a.waiting game in Scotland. Suppose we’ll get there too but it’s a matter of when. Sturgeon always wants to dig her high heels in when it comes to following U.K. gov decisions.

  • Dev says:

    So let me get this straight … if you test positive on the Lateral Flow Test, you only self-isolate IF only you experience symptoms?

    So if you have a positive result but show no symptoms, your good to go?

    • John says:

      No you have to get a PCR test (free for now)

    • john says:

      You have to do the PCR obviously. If that’s negative you don’t have to isolate. If positive test and trace will contact you and will probably use date of lateral flow as start of isolation period.

    • Rob says:

      No, but you can reduce your isolation period by backdating it to the last time you ‘felt a bit funny’.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Which if you have no symptoms, as the question stipulates, would be the date of the LFT not when you last felt a bit funny.

        I’m no fan of this circus, but we should all still no the right thing and not try to game the system. Especially if your PCR is positive.

        • J says:

          Yes, that’s the problem with having so many silly rules, people end up not taking the sensible ones seriously.

        • Dominic says:

          I’m afraid the politicians own willingness to not abide by the rules/their own advice is the precursor for many others reluctance.

      • Doug M says:

        That’s 1973 for me.

  • Joan says:

    I am over 50 and have just been “ invited “ to have a covid booster jab . I don’t particularly want one but as my first dose was in April , I’m thinking that there will be rules soon about expiry of original vaccinations . My next flight is Xmas to Zurich – wondering if I should put off my booster until nearer then .
    Anyone else having the booster yet ?

    • meta says:

      I’d check my anti-body level/T-cell response first to see the current state. Then based on the result, I’d do a booster. Current advice in many countries is six months after the second dose, but only if your immune response is not adequate.

      • JDB says:

        As there is no magic level at which you are/aren’t protected or better protected, are you just going to keep having costly tests until you reach some theoretical lower threshold and then rush to book a jab? We will follow the mainstream advice and have our boosters when invited c. six months after second dose. My parents have already had their booster and flu jab in the other arm at the same time.

    • Anuj says:

      I don’t see why you wouldn’t want one? You’re over 50 for a start.

    • Tracey says:

      Yes, I had the booster nearly 2 weeks ago. I’d actually had an antibody test a few weeks before that and have antibodies, but thought that while it’s on offer I should take it. I can’t see anything wrong with boosting my covid antibodies. So now I’ve had AZ in January and March and Pfizer in October. No covid infection as far as I know.

      • JDB says:

        Seems very sensible; I had the AZ, so having a Pfizer booster seems good so as to have some protection from both types of vaccine. There seem to be a lot of AZ naysayers, but the evidence seems increasingly to point towards longer, higher antibody levels.

      • Dawn says:

        @ Tracey did you get any side effects? I’ve had several friends who have and especially if they had flu and booster at the same time?

        • Tracey says:

          I had the flu booster 2 weeks earlier. I felt rough that evening and took parade and felt well enough to watch the Bond movie at the cinema. Felt a bit nauseous the next day, but not bad enough to stop me doing anything.

      • Char Char says:

        Depends if you were going to receive Anti Bodies or another vaccine.

    • Harry T says:

      If you’re over 50, I’d go and get one soon tbh. Age is the biggest risk factor, however fighting fit you may feel.

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