Day 2 and Day 8 Testing: Everything You Need to Know

While non-essential overseas travel from the UK is currently banned, international arrivals must self-isolate and undergo COVID-19 testing on Day 2 and Day 8 of the quarantine.

However, with summer approaching and the government’s ‘traffic light’ travel system announcement, it is hard not to get excited at the prospect of a foreign holiday.

The ‘traffic light’ system proposes sorting countries into green, amber, and red lists. Countries that exhibit low COVID-19 risks will be placed in the green list, while the high-risk countries are to be sorted into the red list.

The colour categories each have their own set of travel rules. For instance, people returning from green list countries will not be required to self-isolate at all. And returnees from red list countries must self-isolate for ten days at a government-approved hotel.

Nevertheless, due to the severity of the pandemic and threats of COVID-19 variants, the Day 2 and Day 8 tests are a virtually consistent factor for all international arrivals.

You will find a more in-depth look at the ‘traffic light’ travel system here.

An Illustration of Day 2 and Day 8 PCR Test Kit.

The Day 2 and Day 8 tests

All who arrive in, or return to England must take COVID-19 PCR tests from a UK Government approved provider. The first test must be taken on or before Day 2 of arrival. The second test needs to be taken on or after Day 8.

These two tests will determine whether it is safe for the travellers to end quarantine at the end of the 10 day period.

Please note, returnees from green list countries need only a Day 2 test unless they test positive.

When to order the tests

As per government mandate, you must order and pay for the tests before your arrival in England. Failure to do so can result in fines and other penalties.

Furthermore, before travelling to the UK, you are required to fill in a passenger locator form. When you order the Day 2 and Day 8 tests from us, we provide you with a unique reference number. You will have to include this number on the form.

You can book your Day 2 and Day 8 tests here.

The where and when of it all

The test kits are delivered to the location where international arrivals end up self-isolating. People returning from red list countries can expect to have their test kits delivered to the hotel they will be staying. Whereas people coming in from amber list countries can have their test kits delivered to their homes or any other place they may be self-isolating.

The Day 2 test kits are delivered on the first day of the quarantine. The Day 8 tests are delivered on or after the eighth day.

Test kit contents and directions

  • Swab
  • Sample collection tube
  • Specimen transport seal bag
  • Instructions
  • Postage-paid return envelope

It is recommended that you first read the instructions carefully. The procedure is a relatively simple one. You have to use the swab to extract samples from your throat, then your nose. You must ensure that the swab with the samples is securely placed inside the sample collection tube. This tube then goes inside the specimen transport bag. Once you seal this bag, you can prop it inside the included envelope.

Be sure to post the samples to us on the day you collect them on the swab.

Your Day 2 and Day 8 test results

The Day 2 and Day 8 test results are usually sent by email.

If you get negative results for both tests, then all you must do is complete the mandatory self-isolation period to be on your way.

However, if you test positive for COVID-19 on either of the tests, your quarantine period restarts from the day after the test is taken. For instance, if you receive a positive result on the Day 2 test taken on the second day of your arrival, then you must begin the new ten-day quarantine from the third day. This will apply to every individual who has travelled with you or are currently living with you. Any days spent self-isolating before that time will be rendered invalid.

Samples from a Day 2 test may be genome sequenced to detect any potential Covid-19 variant strains.

The Test to Release scheme (Day 5 Tests)

If you return from an amber list country, you have the option to participate in the Test to Release scheme.

As its name suggests, this scheme enables arrivals in England to end their quarantine early. You simply need to book for and undergo an additional test on Day 5. If you get a conclusive negative result, you are free to end self-isolating.

You can order a Day 5 Test to Release kit from us.



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