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4am Tuesday is the start time for PCR tests and compulsory isolation

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One fact missing from Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday about the reintroduction of PCR tests and self-isolation for UK arrivals was the start date.

The requirement for the Government to publish a Statutory Instrument, and to give the testing companies some time to prepare, has caused a delay.

The following message has now appeared on the Passenger Locator Form website:

From 04:00 Tuesday 30 November 2021 testing and isolation requirements will change for all arrivals into the UK.

If you are arriving into the UK after 04:00 Tuesday 30 November 2021 then please return to complete your Passenger Locator Form after 04:00 Monday 29 November as the system is currently being updated.

If you are arriving into the UK before 04:00 Tuesday 30 November 2021 please continue to complete your Passenger Locator Form now.

After 04:00 Tuesday 30 November 2021 lateral flow tests will no longer be accepted and all travellers arriving into UK will be required to book and take COVID-19 PCR tests.”

The original text is here.

This will hopefully provide some leeway for anyone who needs to return to the UK.

Remember that you will need to self isolate from the time you arrive in the UK until you receive your test result. You may only leave home to take your test and to buy food if no-one else can buy it for you.

Comments (195)

  • Scott says:

    I’m still none the wiser as to testing when you’ve had Covid.

    Tested positive on the 31st Oct.

    Coming back into the UK at around lunchtime on the 30th, so leaving LAX 3am or so UK time.

    Happy to do the test on my return, but don’t want to throw £43-£60+ down the drain if i could prove positive for another 2 months.

    Can’t find anything with regards to how a Covid recovery certificate comes into play here, and there must be others in the same boat.
    I.e. does it exempt me; don’t do the normal day lateral flow etc.

    • Rob says:

      Nothing exempts you.

    • James says:

      You just have to accept there’s a risk it may show up positive again

    • Terwri says:

      Same here. Positive test oct 27 and now recovered. Im in the US until into Dec but may call 119 before i return to see if they have any ideas

      • Rui N. says:

        What ideas do you expect them to have?

        • Scott says:

          I’ve no problem taking a test if required, but one set of advice says not to.
          I don’t want to get a positive result and perhaps have to isolate at home for 10 days. Won’t be able to work, and they won’t pay me.

          Got another US trip on the 9th Dec, so if I go, I may well end up with another 10 days of isolation on my return.
          Could take a NHS test to test the waters I suppose, but that’s no good at this point.

          Not sure what the point of a recovery certificate is if you have to take a PCR test and get a negative result anyway.

          Can’t really book a test until say simplytestme make them available (assuming I need a code for the plf?). Not sure if I can get back to the UK and book a test then, or if it has to be in place in advance?
          Don’t know if this affects check in either. Check in opens in a few hours and if required, can’t finish verify until tomorrow

          • John says:

            Too bad, you just have to take the risk or not come back to the UK, or break the law.

            In some countries proof of recovery is equivalent to being vaccinated – but with omicron even being vaccinated doesn’t exempt you from quarantine (including in other countries)

          • Rui N. says:

            Taking a test is required to enter the UK, and it has been for a while. Recovery from Covid has never been a factor in that requirement. Don’t really understand what is the question here.

          • Roy says:

            I think the guidance you’re reading will be withdrawn. Currently (pre-Tuesday) vaccinated travellers can use either a lateral flow test or a PCR test for the day 2 test, and guidance suggests to avoid a PCR test if you have recently recovered.

            As of Tuesday, you will no longer have a choice as to type of test, and that guidance you are reading will (well should) be withdrawn, as it will no longer be relevant.

        • Terwri says:

          Same as Scott below – advised not to take a PCR as a recent recoveree but now must do. It is what it is I guess.

  • Alan S says:

    Are there any providers offering PCR tests at Heathrow Terminal 5 for arrivals without leaving the airport?

    We have a 3.5 hour layover before travelling on to Edinburgh, so I’m wondering if there might be a way to get the test done and out of the way.

  • ash says:

    I take it reading the comments that Dublin still does not apply after the 30th.

  • David says:

    Any suggestions for a rapid PCR at Heathrow Terminal 3 that issues a PL number.

    • David says:

      For arrivals.

    • James says:

      Depends how soon you need it but I’ve had good experiences with covidtestingdirect.com, you get the PLF straight away and test costs 89p needs to be a bit in advance though

      • Jody says:

        I can see a test on there for £89, but not for 89p!

      • Nick says:

        89p for a PCR?

        • James says:

          They have click and collect or in person for 89p.
          https://covidtestingdirect.com/approved-day-2-day-8/

          • Rob says:

            Yeah right.

            Why don’t you go off and do some research into what these things cost? When I did this on lateral flow tests, I couldn’t get them below £2 even if I bought 10,000 at once. Clearly a PCR costs more to manufacture and needs to be analysed.

          • Andy says:

            No click and collect tests available for the next month. Shame, not bothered if it works or not, but would have satisfied the need for an order number to put on the PLF

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Rob not sure why a PCR costs more to manufacture. It’s a swab and a tube.

            It’s about the processing.

            No doubt any 89p tests are actually data mining and selling your details to whoever will pay and perhaps even your dna.

          • Rob says:

            There are no tests. It is done to get to the top of the Govt list.

          • Mike says:

            Hey that is a reasonable price to protect public health

  • Joe says:

    Paid and booked lateral test for 2days after I return from Mexico 2nd Dec. Is this still valid

  • Matthew says:

    Anyone knows, what’s the situation with children? Do they have to be tested as well?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It would be wise to assume if the needed a day 2 LFT then they’ll need a pcr instead.

      • Matthew says:

        I’d be more interested in exemptions- are under twelves still not required to take a test?

        • Rob says:

          U12’s had to do a lateral flow and a PCR last year so I very much doubt they will be exempt.

          U5’s should be OK.

    • Rob says:

      Probably. This was the rule previously – my 10 year old had to do PCR tests and more recently lateral flow tests. I think the cut-off was 5 years?

  • David says:

    Cheapest Lateral Flow currently?
    (Arriving Monday afternoon just before requirements change)

  • Nick says:

    Anyone know of day 2 PCR test at Heathrow or in London that gives same day results? Expresstest only offer the 3hr turn-around for ‘Fit-to-Fly’ with no code for PLF

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