Traffic Lights: Day 2 and Day 8 PCR Tests

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The government has recently unveiled plans to rank countries according to their COVID-19 risks using a traffic light system. This proposal was made by the UK Global Travel Taskforce’s plan to restart non-essential foreign travel and overseas holidays.

On implementation of this strategy, the Day 2 and Day 8 test rules will vary slightly.

The government will rank travel destinations as:

  • Green countries
    Visitors to ‘green list’ countries will need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test. And on coming back to the UK from ‘green list’ countries, passengers will only need to take a Day 2 test. Unless they test positive on the Day 2 test, there will be no quarantine requirement.
  • Amber countries
    The rules will remain pretty much the same for returnees from ‘amber list’ countries. The ten-day quarantine and Day 2 and Day 8 tests will remain mandatory. However, they will have the option to end self-isolating early by taking the Day 5 Test to Release.

    Update: Following a government amendment, fully vaccinated persons returning from ‘amber list’ countries no longer need to quarantine nor take the Day 8 PCR test. However, returnees of ‘amber+ list’ countries must quarantine and take PCR tests regardless of vaccination status.

  • Red countries
    The rules for returning from ‘red list’ countries will not vary at all. Day 2 and Day 8 test will be mandatory, and the ten-day quarantine period must be completed at a government-approved hotel.
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