With cases of Omicron confirmed in the UK, the Government has re-introduced a compulsory PCR test for any travellers returning from abroad
The government has reinstated some restrictions following the discovery of confirmed Omicron Covid variants, including mandatory PCR tests upon arrival to England.
The Prime Minister announced that any travellers returning to the UK would need to take a PCR test before the end of day two of arrival, lateral flow devices will no longer be accepted, and they must self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
But how do you get hold of this day two PCR test and how does it work?
If you are arriving back to the UK by 4am on November 30, these rules do not yet apply to you. The mandatory PCR test comes into force at 4am on November 30.
Since the recommendations state that the PCR test must be taken before the end of the second day of arrival, many are opting for taking the test at the airport, as soon as they step off the plane.
Heathrow Airport has many testing sites, with the popular ExpressTest services in the arrivals lounge of terminals two and five. The sites are open from 7am to 8pm, so if you are wanting to take your PCR test at the airport, your flight must land within these times.
You can book a PCR test well in advance of your travels, by selecting your date of arrival and the time you would like to take the test by visiting the ExpressTest booking website.
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The price of a PCR test at this site is £69, not a small sum to add to your travel costs.
An alternative to ExpressTest is the Randox testing centre located in the rear car park of the Radisson Blu Edwards Hotel. Although this service is not in the airport itself, it does cost less, priced at £55. However, the opening times are more restrictive: 7am-6:30pm, meaning if your flight arrives in the evening, you will not have access to the Randox site.
For both services, they advertise that you will receive your results by the following night, meaning that should you be negative, you will not have to self-isolate for long.
If you end up not being able to make the opening times of the testing centres at Heathrow Airport, you can always order a PCR day-two test to arrive at home, which sometimes is even cheaper, although might mean that you have to isolate for a bit longer as you await results. Randox health offers an at-home PCR test for £48.