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What The Government’s New 'Test To Release' Scheme Means For Holidays

The global pandemic has, of course, impacted many people in many different ways, with the whole travel experience one of the most affected throughout 2020.

News of the UK government’s travel corridor list back in the summer gave Brits the chance to enjoy a trip abroad in one of the included countries without needing to quarantine upon their return back to these shores, sparking a flurry of holiday bookings as people looked to get their fix of sun, sea, sand and the city around the world.

Not all destinations were placed on the travel corridor list however, and some were in fact taken off having initially been included, which meant that British holidaymakers jetting away to certain areas would be required to self-isolate for a period of two weeks after arriving home, though a recent announcement revealed that this has now been reduced from 14 days to only ten.

That’s certainly positive news for anybody landing back in the UK from one of the countries not currently positioned on the government’s travel corridor list, though even better news is that there’s now a way for returning tourists to not have to isolate at all upon completion of their break.

A scheme known as ‘Test to Release’ has been devised (and came into force on Tuesday 15th December) which allows travellers arriving back in the UK from a country not on the corridor list who test negative for Covid to be released from quarantine early, as long as the test has been taken from one of the government-approved private providers.

The stated cost range of a test is between £65 to £120, depending on which provider you use, and those that take part must also fill out passenger locator forms. One important thing to note is that tests must be taken after five days of arrival back to the UK from non-corridor countries, and of course without a test from one of the official government-approved providers, you would need to isolate for ten days.

The government’s website will be continuously updated with a full list of approved countries, and includes an application section for other companies wishing to be added to the list.

At the time of the scheme’s launch, the full list of approved ‘Test to Release’ providers were:

  • Axiom Laboratory
  • Chronomics
  • DNA Workplace
  • Halo Verify
  • Medicspot
  • Oncologica
  • Prenetics/iDNA
  • Screen 4
  • Samedaydoctor
  • The London General Practice
  • The Private GP Clinic