Returning from overseas? Work out what Covid-19 tests you need to take

Happy Asian woman wear protective face mask and eyeglasses walking in international airport terminal

Travellers returning from overseas need to book Covid-19 tests in accordance with the government's traffic light system. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The UK government has implemented a traffic light system for all international arrivals back into the United Kingdom. 

Countries are rated based on their Covid-19 risk, which is calculated by the number of Covid-19 infections from that country and the rate of vaccinations.  

Here, Daniel Cheung from Wimpole Medical, a private testing centre in Upper Street, outlines what you need to do before you arrive back into the UK.  

Green country arrivals 

All arrivals from an international arrival will need to do a Covid-19 PCR test on the second day of their international arrival. No quarantine or self-isolation is required for green country arrivals.  

Amber country arrivals  


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All arrivals from an amber rated country will need to do a Covid-19 PCR test on the second day as well as day eight of their international arrival. They are not allowed to leave self-quarantine until after day 10 of their arrival, assuming they have tested negative.  

The UK government has said that if the passenger can participate in the Test to Release Scheme, which requires a PCR test on day five of their international arrival, they will be able to break self-quarantine.   

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Red country arrivals  

All arrivals from a red rated country pose a risk to the nations efforts to control Covid-19, and will need to stay in a UK government approved quarantine hotel. They will have to do the testing on day two and day eight but are not eligible to participate in the Test to Release Scheme.  

What is the purpose of the testing? 

The reason for imposing this testing is so travellers are screened for any Covid-19 variants of concern. The UK government can then act quickly and isolate cases to help the country beat    Covid-19. 

How do I pay for these tests?  

The UK government wants all passengers to pre-book and pay for the tests prior to their entry into the UK. This is to stop people from booking their tests and arriving back into the country and not carrying out the testing. 

Once the tests are booked up and paid for, a booking reference is given which needs to be used for the Passenger Location Form. 

Where can I get these tests?

Only UK government listed clinics are able to offer this service, as they will be able to offer an official booking reference number. The passenger has to use the UK government website to confirm their compliance.  

How can Wimpole Medical assist?   

Wimpole Medical is able to offer testing as a UK government listed private Covid provider. It is able to offer testing packages for all green and amber rated countries arriving back into the UK. This includes the Test to Release test (the day five test). A combined package will offer better value for passengers who wish to travel during the summer holiday period. 

Tests are bookable on the Wimpole Medical website or by calling the centre on 0203 095 3000. 

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