People traveling to the UK will require two COVID tests once in quarantine

The new measures for traveling into the U.K. will come into force on Monday.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 11.02.2021 10:53 (updated on 11.02.2021)

If you arrive in the UK from most countries and you will need to quarantine at home for ten days and you will need to book two COVID-19 tests before you arrive to take them during your quarantine.

The new restrictions come into force on Monday, with the rules applying to the Czech Republic as well as other countries that are not on the U.K. banned or "red" list, who will face tougher measures from Feb. 15.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the measures were to reduce the risk of new, potentially more resistant variants entering the country and spreading amongst the population.

In a statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday, Hancock said: "All passengers are already required to take a pre-departure test, and cannot travel to this country if it is positive. From Monday, all international arrivals, whether under home quarantine or hotel quarantine, will be required by law to take further PCR tests on day two and day eight of that quarantine.

"Passengers will have to book these tests through our online portal before they travel. Anyone planning to travel to the UK, from Monday, needs to book these tests. If either of these post-arrival tests comes back positive, they’ll have to quarantine for a further 10 days from the date of the test, and will of course be offered any NHS treatment that is necessary. Any positive result will automatically undergo genomic sequencing to confirm whether they have a variant of concern."

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"Under home quarantining, the existing Test to Release scheme can still be used from day five, but this would be in addition to the mandatory two tests. The combination of enhanced testing and sequencing has been a powerful weapon throughout this pandemic. And we’ll be bringing it to bear so we can find positive cases, break the chains of transmission, and prevent new cases, and new variants, from putting us at risk."

Other measures have also been introduced in England for people from banned countries, if you arrive in England and have traveled in a country on the banned travel list in the last ten days, you will need to self-isolate in a government quarantine hotel for ten days. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have different measures in place, with Scotland introducing quarantine hotels for all international arrivals.

A number of new variants of the coronavirus have been identified including a British variant which was reported in the Czech Republic last month. So far none of the new variants have proven to be fully resistant to any of the approved vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Czech government is discussing whether to extend the state of emergency in the country. Currently, it is set to run out on Sunday, Feb. 14 and parliament has to approve the cabinet's proposal to extend it. 

The Czech cabinet restricted people's movement in the three worst COVID-afflicted districts of Cheb, Sokolov, and Trutnov. The ban on local residents' departure and the arrival of others goes into effect at midnight Thursday.