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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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Steven says:

    I have 2 lateral tests from Chronomics at home which are unused as I returned from Greece on Oct 7th and didn’t need to use due to rule changes. I’m flying again to Greece in November so will I be able to use them or I will I have to purchase 2 new ones from October 2nd?

    • Rob says:

      If there is no 12 character reference code for a PLF, you’ll need to buy a new one.

    • Mark says:

      Snap. I’m inclined to ask them when the dust settles. Otherwise I might well be tempted to do what others have reported and use our last codes again on the PLF, then use the kits to take and report the test results when we get back.

  • Sara Erridge says:

    Is it definite that it’s arrivals from 24th October? I arrive the 23rd October but can take my day 2 test on the 24th and 25th. Seems silly if I have to PCR whilst others are lateral flowing.

    • Rob says:

      Yes

    • sayling says:

      Faced just that situation when returning from Canada, 22 hours too early to take advantage of the reading of return testing.

      A nuisance, but it wasn’t changed to something more restrictive so blessings were counted

  • Michael C says:

    So we can use absolutely any LFT as long as it’s paid for and not the free NHS one…?

    • Rob says:

      The supplier has to generate a valid code for your PLF.

      • Jonathan says:

        So if you don’t have to be on the approved supplier list what exactly are the minimum criteria to offer a service?

        As a registered medical practitioner can I start offering zoom supervised tests for friends & family using a box of cheap CE marked LFT’s from Spain? I could knock up certificates on MS Word in 2 minutes. I’m not trying to make a fast buck (I’d do it for free) just wondering exactly how low the barriers are to meet legal (& my moral) requirements.

  • Joe says:

    I really don’t understand why they are doing it this way. They could just charge everyone £10-£15 to fill in the plf and then upload the NHS result. Simpler for all and I’m sure better for the gov.

  • Gareth Morgan says:

    I’m going to be arriving by car from France and I’m not sure where I’m heading immediately. Can I collect a test somewhere or does it have to be sent to my home ?

    • Sammyj says:

      Have it sent anywhere, it’s only the reference number you’ll get when you order it that’s important. Do a regular lateral flow test that you’ve got with you to meet any moral obligation.

  • R says:

    And so the profiteering begins: Chronomics fit to return = £18.80. Identical test and reporting procedure sold as a Day 2 = £ 23.50.

  • R says:

    Why cant these simply be sold in s shop (or even on Amazon) pre departure, with an accompanying booking code?? It’s ridiculous, as the cost comes down, to require the added cost of a speedy delivery service which will end up representing a large part of the price.

  • Graham says:

    Does anyone else find that this doesn’t actually help with half term travel given the list of approved providers is only being released on the Friday and most people would be flying out that weekend. I can’t help but feel it’s a bit risky to order from somewhere that may not be approved and/or wait until the Friday to order. Or am I missing something?
    Im flying out on Thursday next week and after the announcement yesterday I just ordered day 2 PCR tests to be safe.

    • John says:

      You don’t need to buy the tests before departing the UK

    • SammyJ says:

      You can order them at the airport on your way home if you like, as long as you’ve got the booking reference before you fill in your return PLF, there’s no requirement to have them before you leave the UK

      • Mark says:

        We were ordering them whilst away anyway to minimise risk of buying tests we didn’t need due to the rules, or our plans, changing.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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