FAQs on the new days 2 and 8 tests and how to quarantine when you arrive in England

When can I take my day 2 and 8 tests in quarantine?

Day 2 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of your quarantine period. The day of arrival in England will be treated as day zero. This first test is designed to help identify any potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. Tests will be taken in your own accommodation.

If you get a positive result from your day 2 test, you must quarantine for 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken (this means until day 13). Your household will also need to quarantine until day 13.

If you get a positive result from your day 2 test, you do not need to take a test on day 8.

Day 8 test

You need to take a COVID-19 test on or after day 8, unless you got a positive result from your day 2 test.

If you get a positive test result from your day 8 test you will need to quarantine until day 19. Your household will also need to quarantine until day 19.

When can I end my quarantine?

If you’ve quarantined for 10 days and got a negative result to both your day 2 and day 8 tests, you may leave the place where you’re quarantining. You may also leave quarantine early if you receive a negative test result after day 5 by booking a test through the Test to Release programme.

Children under 5 do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test

More information on ending your quarantine early through: Test to Release Programme. 

You can still use the Test to Release for international travel scheme. The scheme lets you choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, you can stop quarantining.

You cannot take a test until you have been in England for 5 full days.

The scheme is voluntary and applies to those quarantining in England only.

If you do not want to opt into the Test to Release scheme, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

You cannot use the Test to Release scheme if you have been in or through any country that is on the travel ban red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England. If you’re planning to use the Test to Release scheme, you must still take a test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, unless you’re exempt. Even if you get a negative result from your Test to Release and are released from self-isolation, you still need to take a test on or after day 8 to check that you do not have COVID-19.

Can I change the place where you’re quarantining?

You are not allowed to change the place where you’re quarantining except in very limited circumstances, including where:

  • a legal obligation requires you to change address, such as when you’re a child whose parents live separately, and you need to move between homes as part of a shared custody agreement.
  • it’s necessary and permissible for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be quarantining for the remaining period.

If this happens, you must provide full details of each address where you will quarantine on the passenger locator form. If, in exceptional circumstances, you cannot remain where you’re staying, you can move to a new place to quarantine and you must complete a new passenger locator form as soon as possible.

Points to bear in mind about leaving quarantine.

You will be able to leave quarantine when you have received both a negative result from your day 8 test and have quarantined for 10 full days.

You can also end your quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme.

Once you leave quarantine, you must still follow the national restrictions that apply.

How to quarantie whne you arrive in England

From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England from outside the Common Travel Area (Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) must:

  • quarantine for 10 days
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining
  • follow the national lockdown rules

What you must know before you travel

Everyone must:

  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel.
  • book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine.
  • complete a passenger locator formwith details of where you will home quarantine when you arrive and the travel test package booking reference number.

If you’re travelling from somewhere in the Common Travel Area (Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and you have not left the Common Travel Area for the past 10 days, you do not need a test before leaving or to home quarantine and take tests after arriving.

What do I need to do before I travel to England?

You must have proof of a negative coronavirus test to travel to England – this includes UK citizens. You must take the test in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs.

For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you must take the test on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

See the jobs with testing travel exemptions to find out whether your job qualifies for an exemption and what that exemption covers. You may need to show evidence of the work you will be doing at the border.

Information on how to book your travel testing package.

Everyone must book a travel test package. Either through a private provider or through the government website. You must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 for variant surveillance and a test on or after day 8 to check that you do not have COVID-19.

You will not be able to leave quarantine until you have received both a negative result from your day 8 test and quarantined for 10 days.

If you test positive for either test you must quarantine for a further 10 days from the day you took the test – you will receive further advice alongside your test results.

If your test shows that you have a variant of coronavirus known as a ‘variant of concern’, you will get a further call and your contacts will be asked to be tested.

What Information do I need to provide when completing the passenger locator form?

Before you travel to England you must provide your journey, contact details and the address where you will quarantine by completing the passenger locator form. You must do this within the 48 hours before you arrive.

You must provide a test package booking reference number to complete your passenger locator form.

You may be asked to show these details to immigration officers when you arrive.

If you provide false or deliberately misleading information, you may be fined or imprisoned.

How does the 10 days quarantine period work?

When you arrive in England, you must travel directly to the place you’re staying and not leave until 10 days have passed.

The quarantine period starts the day you arrive in England and ends 10 days after the day you arrived. This period is necessary because it can take up to 10 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear.

If you’re travelling to England for less than 10 days, you will need to quarantine for the whole of your stay. You must travel directly to your place of quarantine when you arrive in England and directly from your place of quarantine to the port or airport when you leave. You should follow safer travel guidance and avoid public transport if possible.

How do I travel to the place where I’m quarantining?

When you arrive in England, go straight to the place you’re staying to quarantine.

Only use public transport if you have no other option.

If you do use public transport, you must take all safety precautions to prevent the risk of virus transmission. These include:

  • keeping your distance and observing social contact rules
  • washing or sanitising your hands regularly
  • wearing a face coveringthat covers your nose and mouth (this is required by law unless you’re exempt)
  • planning ahead and avoiding the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • downloading the NHS COVID-19 appbefore you travel, if possible, and checking in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, it is important that you do not travel by public transport.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms when you’re travelling to England, you should tell one of the crew on your plane, boat, train or bus. They’ll let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you should do next when you arrive.

What am I expected to do or cannot do in quarantine?

Quarantine can include staying:

  • in your own home
  • with friends or family
  • in a hotel or other temporary accommodation that is not a managed quarantine hotel

You must quarantine in one place for the full quarantine period, where you can have food and other necessities delivered.

You must quarantine at the address you provided on the passenger locator form.

Visitors

You cannot have visitors, including friends and family, unless they’re providing:

Going out

You cannot leave the premises where you’re in quarantine. You cannot go out to work or school. You cannot visit family or friends who do not live in the premises where you quarantine. You must only exercise inside the place where you’re quarantining or garden. You cannot leave the place where you’re quarantining to walk your dog. You will need to ask friends or relatives to help you with this.

You must not go shopping. If you need help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery or ask for help from NHS Volunteer Responders.

You can leave to escape risk of harm (for example, domestic abuse).

NHS Volunteer Responders are available if you need help collecting shopping, medication or would like a telephone ‘check-in and chat’. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange support. You can arrange one-off support, or schedule more regular help while you’re quarantining.

Jobs that mean you do not have to quarantine.

You do not need to quarantine if your job is on the list of jobs that are exempt.

What are the exceptional circumstances that may permit me to leave my home?

You may also be allowed to leave your accommodation in exceptional circumstances. This includes purposes such as:

  • accessing basic necessities like food and medicines where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered.
  • accessing critical public services including social services and services provided to victims (such as victims of crime)
  • moving to a different place for quarantine where you can no longer remain where you are.

There may be other exceptional circumstances which permit you to leave your place of quarantine. You will need to consider carefully whether your circumstances are exceptional circumstances that require you to leave your place of quarantine. You could seek advice from a medical or other professional to discuss your circumstances so that you can decide whether, for example, you have a health condition or a disability that would be seriously exacerbated if you were not able to leave the accommodation (and its outdoor areas) where you’re quarantining to take exercise.

Even if you have an exception, you must continue to follow the general restrictions that apply.

What to do if you get coronavirus symptoms?

You should order a test if you develop at least one of these 3 coronavirus symptoms at any point:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed

If you develop coronavirus symptoms when you’re travelling to England, you should tell one of the crew on your plane, boat, train or bus. They’ll let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you should do next when you arrive.

What are rules for the people I’m stay with?

The people you’re staying with do not need to quarantine, unless:

  • they travelled with you
  • you or someone in the place where you’re staying develop symptoms of coronavirus

As far as possible, avoid contact with other people in the place where you’re quarantining to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus. You should stay in a well ventilated room with an outside window that can be opened, separate from other people in your home.

If you’re staying in a hotel or guest house, you must stay away from others who did not travel with you, so it’s important that you do not use shared areas such as bars, restaurants, health clubs and sports facilities. Stay 2 metres apart from other people staying there at all times.

Please take note of the penalties if you break any of the quarantine rule.

  • Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form is an offence punishable by imprisonment. You could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years or both if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.
  • If you break the quarantine rules, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
  • If you do not take the tests, you may face a penalty of up to £2,000.
  • If you break the quarantine rules, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.

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