A new government “test to release” scheme for passengers arriving into England will see the 14-day quarantine period slashed by up to two-thirds.
From 15 December, arrivals into England by plane, ferry or train from countries not featured on the government’s travel corridor list will have the option to take a test after five days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing them from the need to isolate.
Passengers are advised to book their test before they travel from a private provider on a gov.uk suppliers list, which will be published before 15 December.
Using an NHS Test and Trace test will not legally permit anyone to be released from self-isolation.
Travellers must also complete a passenger locator form (PLF) and will still need to self-isolate for five days before taking a test – rather than taking it at their port of arrival.
Arrivals should mention they are taking a test on their PLF form prior to entering England and then go straight into self-isolation at home. If they choose to opt in after arrival, they will need to resubmit their form.
Passengers will then take a test on or after day five of their isolation period either at home or at a private provider’s testing site, and once they receive a negative result, can immediately stop self-isolating.
Those choosing not to take a test when arriving from a non-exempt country must follow the current self-isolation requirements of a full 14 days of quarantine.