New "test to release" scheme will reduce the quarantine time for travellers coming to England
Posted on 28/11/2020

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In an attempt to reopen the economy, and save the festive season, the British government announced a new "test to release" scheme on Monday. Under this policy, travellers arriving in England from high risk countries will be able to significantly reduce their mandatory quarantine period provided that their Covid-19 test results are negative.

New scheme to make travel easier

New scheme to make travel easier

The "test to release" scheme will be in place from December 15 onwards and is only applicable to travellers who are coming from countries that are not included in the travel green list. The incoming passengers will be expected to self-isolate for at least five days and on the fifth day, they have the option of taking a rapid Covid-19 test. The results are determined after one hour, and if it is found to be negative, they will be released from their mandated quarantine. The expenses of the test will be covered by the passenger and it costs 100. The test remains optional and travellers who wish to be tested on the fifth day of quarantine must book the test prior to their arrival in England. For those who would like to forgo the test, they may do so and stay in self-isolation for the full duration of two weeks.

This initiative has come at a crucial time as it allows many families to reunite during the Christmas holidays. If it proves to be successful, it could also be a big relief for the aviation industry that is already heavily burdened by the impact of the pandemic. "Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business. By giving people the choice to test on day 5, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic," said Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.

This decision is definitely considered to be a step towards the right direction but experts within the aviation industry agree that there needs to be a better and cheaper system in the long run because the 100 test and five day quarantine period will still deter many people from travelling. The government, however, has taken a strong stance in the matter arguing that if the virus is present, the five days will give it enough time to incubate and consequently the results will be more accurate. "This test on day 5 of the 14-day self-isolation period will identify positive coronavirus cases and allow those who test negative to return to work and see their loved ones while abiding by domestic coronavirus restrictions," stated Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock.