Holidays: How to get a COVID-19 test ahead of travel as countries ramp up entry rules

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Covid testing proof is demanded by many countries around the world now. If can show you don’t have the deadly virus, you are allowed to enter, with some also insisting on a period of quarantine. Unfortunately, if you want a coronavirus test for a holiday you are not allowed to use the NHS to do so.

“COVID-19 testing for the purposes of international travel is not available on the NHS,” cautions the health service in its travel advice.

Instead, travellers will have to turn to the private sector and pay for a test.

Michael Asher, Chairman & CEO at Better2Know Ltd, told Express.co.uk: “Our Government has made it clear that NHS covid testing services are there for those with a clinical need for testing, and not for the pleasure traveller.

“We all need to play our part in taking pressure off our NHS, allowing it to focus on those who are ill and most in need.”

Prices for private tests generally range between £100 and £150.

Alex Templeton, CEO of healthcare and testing provider Qured, spoke with Express.co.uk, to share the five key steps holidaymakers unsure of where to begin when it comes to testing before travel should follow.

1. Do your research

“Before you book your flight, check whether the country you are visiting requires you to carry a certificate for entry,” said Templeton.

This information can be found on each country’s government website.

“Even if a certificate isn’t needed for entering your destination, the paperwork can provide ease of mind and, in some cases, reduce quarantine periods,” the expert advised.

2. Choose carefully

The NHS warns: “Private testing processes and accuracy of results may vary. This should be discussed with the test provider before payment.”

Consequently, choosing a provider with care is important.

“There are multiple test providers in the UK, but not all of them can supply the relevant paperwork for travel to certain destinations,” said Templeton.

“Which type of test you pick will depend on requirements for your specific journey and how urgently you need your results.”

Asher added: “Be sure the Laboratory doing the testing is UKAS certified, and that your Fit to Fly certificate will be accepted by your airline.”

4. Protect your test

Timings remain important even after you’ve done the covid test.

“Once you have completed your home test, the next step is to return your test to the lab.

“We recommend, and offer as part of our service, Royal Mail Next Day Tracked, to ensure timely receipt and safe,” Templeton explained.

If timings are very tight, you can also send via a same-day courier, although will add to the cost.

5. Passport and paperwork

Lastly, make sure when you’re packing you don’t forget your all-important travel documents.

“The same way you would triple-check that you have your passport at the ready when you leave for the airport, make sure you have your travel certificate with you,” said Templeton.

“You may need it to gain access to your destination country.”

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