Covid-19 Test For Travel: The number of countries needing negative corona-virus test from travelers is increasing.

Starting from 23 November, Spain demanded that travelers present a corona-virus test result taken 72 hours prior to travelling a requirement upon arrival to gain entrance into the country. This makes Spain the most recent country to require a negative covid-19 test result as a prerequisite for travel.

UK’s government is making plans to announce a new procedure that makes the 14 days quarantine lesser for travellers whose destinations aren’t included on the travel corridors list should their result turn out negative. This is known as the ‘test-to-release’.

However, some persons don’t know the kind of tests this will involve, the duration, and why it may be more pricey than those provided in other countries. It is this confusion that this post is aimed at clearing. So, here are the major answers to these obvious questions.

What corona virus tests are involved?

Testing for covid-19 checks if the virus is there in the body currently, or if your immune system has previously responded to the virus. A better insight into the novel coronavirus, especially in the area of immunity, will trigger the introduction of an antibody test which will show if you’ve been infected previously.

Presently, the requirements for testing before travelling concentrates on what’s happening now than what’s has happened in the past.

Defining a covid PCR test

The typical standard of testing for çoronavirus even on the NHS is by taking a swab from the top of the nose or back of the throat via a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Other names for this test include viral detection, molecular, swab, genetic, or RNA test. But these terms can be used to describe a non-PCR test.

After taking the sample, it is tested in the lab to identify genetic matter in the virus known as RNA as this shows that coronavirus is present. This procedure is complex and takes a lot of time to be done in the lab. A solution çalled reagent is added to the swab taken, and the reaction is done in a number of alternating temperature steps with a thermal cycler. The aim is to replicate so many copies of the RNA to identify them easily. But it can take 12 hours to complete the scientific aspect of the procedure and the time it takes to move samples to the lab and carefully analyse it could make result take longer time.

Defining a LAMP test for covid-19

LAMP stands for Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification. This test requires the same swab samples, but there is no need for thermal cycler as it takes time and is pricey. On-site test analysis is possible with this procedure. Based on this, the LAMP test has been adopted by Heathrow airport in collaboration with Swissport and Collinson at Terminal 5 and Terminal 2 for travellers.

The disadvantage of this test is that its accuracy is less than that of PCR. Those who trust this method say a lot of false positives are removed when the LAMP test is repeated. However, the primary concern for host countriesis false negatives (travellers who are infected with coronavirus but have a negative result).

This makes PCR test the usual. Throughout the entire period of the pandemic, these tests have been used by the Channel Island of Jersey, and it’s been free of charge.

At what time should I take the test?

This comes down to your destination. The duration is fixed for every country which is typically allotted within the time the test is taken, your departure to, or when you get to where you’re going.

Usually, it is expected that you show up with a negative çoronavirus test result done 72 hours prior to arrival in countries like Spain and Barbados. Considering the time taken to fly to the Caribbean coupled with the issues at the airport, this brings down the time for Barbados to about 60 hours before leaving.

Is this test available on the NHS?

It is not. NHS tests are free of charge for everyone who’s worried about contracting the infection, and must not be acceptable for travel. On the other hand, should you be worried that you’ve had covid-19, get tested on the NHS instead of seeking a test available for travellers presumed to have a negative status.

How to get a test?

Should you have a recommendation from friends or family, consider it. Consulting long-standing health providers for travellers like us, the Fleet Street Clinic in central London, Nomad locations in Manchester, Bristol, London and Cardiff, and Masta located in so many pharmacies.

Again, there are several functional private health centres running coronavirus test programmes.

In comparison with a recent venture taking the lead on price, a well-known doctor operated clinic will cost more and provide more expert services. This is because they employ high-end modern health test available having the right rating for accuracy. In addition, these professionals know the kind of certification your destination needs. These are some of the amazing benefits of using a professional testing centre.

There are countries that make it mandatory to be presented with a result done by a UKAS-approved laboratory – the national accreditation body in the UK.

Taking a look at reviews will also help. Should there be any feedback on any provider returning results late, you will easily know and look for another provider.

What happens during the test?

Most of the time, the swab test is described as not pleasant or comfortable. But it takes no time. You may feel like gagging during a throat swab, while nasal swab is quite invasive and worrisome. Be that as it may, the two methods are not so bad. Should a health expert perform the swab, their chances of getting a material that carries RNA is high.

There are at-home test kits available; however, concerns abound that inexperienced persons or their partners may recede from the in-depth probing that happens.

Self-testing at Nomad is quite different and amazing where a health expert talks to a patient via video call explaining the test procedure. At Doctap, the procedure is different as they have a chain of pharmacies that distribute their test kits. For an additional £15, a medical expert can perform the swab on a patient.

What’s the price of the test?

A PCR test cost may be pricey – something you may not find pleasing, but because it makes travelling possible, a lot of persons believe it is worth it.

Getting a test done at a clinic with results that turn out within 48 hours may cost between £150 to £200 and above. A plethora of options ranging from providing certification and a fitness to fly letter completed by a doctor is available at most clinics.

At-home test kits delivered or posted by courier service or purchased from a pharmacy is less expensive – usually costing £125 to £150. However, this has a few downsides. The first disadvantage is the possibility of not carrying out the test and secondly, the time spent on doing the test takes more than the allotted timeframe.

On the flip side, a clinic will probably have a close relationship with their recommended lab and so can cover up for the lost time.

Will any country provide this test for travelers?

It is very okay to have a test before travelling, but certain countries prefer an arrival test and may provide it at no cost. Looking at this in the eyes of a traveller, it makes sense and is simple provided the result is negative.

This information should be part of your destination’s Foreign Office advice.

Passengers travelling to Dubai from Germany and the UK are offered PCR swab test. The Emirates airlines propose that anyone tested at the airport stay back in their hotel or lodging till they get the result.

Instead of taking a pre-travel test, people visiting Italy can choose a zero cost test upon arrival. Self-isolation at your hotel is necessary till your test result comes out. This takes around 24 hours. Rapid tests are done at certain airports, and results are ready within one hour. But passengers have to hang around the airport till the result arrives.

Airports that are not large may not have testing facilities. Travellers need to get tested at other places within 48 hours of stepping into Italy.

What happens when my result comes late?

Sorry to say this but late results may deny you access to board the plane and eventually lose your flight money. So, before booking your flight, speak with your doctor or clinic about the timeline and what’s available to ensure your result comes in early.

There are clinics that will refund the cost of the test alone. This can be a small consolation in comparison with not getting any money back.

Should it be that the labs in the UK are operating maximally and in most cases, NHS tests are prioritised, travellers need to understand and accept some chances on timeframe provided the PCR test is the gold standard. Insuring this risk is not possible.

Testing in Italy costs €20 and takes just an hour to come out. Why is the test in the UK expensive and time-consuming?

It is possible that the test done is of lesser accuracy and different. The lab test is quite high in price, even as the cost of reagent is skyrocketing around the world. Stretching the services of staff to accommodate deadlines is costly too.

Will my travel insurer or holiday company pay for the cost of my test if I had already booked before the test became statutory?

They won’t. It lies in your hands to deal with any situation that arises at your destination.

What is involved in the test-to-release proposed by the UK government?

A private PCR Covid-19 test will be needed for this new procedure. This implies that after 5 days or more of quarantine, people travelling to the UK will undergo the çoronavirus test and should result be negative, allowed to move into the community.

At what time will the test be less pricey and easy?

This question is not an easy one to answer right now from the perspective of the travel industry. So many minimally invasive, sophisticated, and costly technologies are available, which involves the use of saliva or blood from pinpricks.

In Liverpool, the Lateral Flow is a type of test used for a lot of persons at a time and results are produced in less than one hour.

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Certain persons believe this test to be nearly as dependable as PCR tests. Countries that depend on tourism may reduce the standard to allow for business growth and validate less complex tests.

In an ideal setting, a quick test at the airport before departure will make things easier by detecting some cases. Report shows that the United Airlines flying passengers from New York to London is putting this idea into practice this month.

A top private clinic expert has predicted that with time, rapid antigen testing may be adopted by some destinations and airlines just like what’s going on in Liverpool.

However, as the world is waiting for an international agreement on a test-and-travel protocol, the burden is on the traveller in terms of cost and other issues as they make an effort to visit other parts of the world right now.

For more details regarding Covid-19 test for travel and PCR tests, do reach out to us at STD Check London and we will be glad to help.


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