Why Do I Need a PCR Test for Travel?

why need pcr test uk

Whether you are heading on a business trip, or on your holidays, PCR testing is becoming pivotal in the travel process. In our previous blog post, we explained the Government travel lists, and how Covid testing fits into them. However, we know that you may be unsure of why you need a Covid PCR test, and what they are. That’s why we have created this guide to PCR testing, so that you can understand how the test works, and why it is being used to reopen travel.

why need pcr test uk

How does a PCR test work?

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction; said reaction is used to detect the presence of Covid-19 antigens. It uses the detection of viral RNA (ribonucleic acid) in order to determine if someone has the virus very early on. This is because viral RNA is present in the body before symptoms start to show, and before antibodies start to develop. Therefore, the test is used to give an accurate indication of who is, and who is not, infected. You can get an NHS PCR test if you have symptoms, in order to confirm whether you have the virus.

How is the test carried out?

The test comes in the form of a home testing kit. It involves a swab of both of your tonsils, or where they would ordinarily be, as well as one nostril. Your kit will contain all of the information you need to carry out the test.

Why do I need a Covid PCR test?

PCR tests are used to offer countries and airlines a greater sense of control over the virus. This is because they offer proof of a negative Covid infection before you board your flight. Regulations are constantly changing to help control the spread of the virus; therefore, we recommend checking the Foreign Office website in advance of your trip. We have also included guidance regarding the red, amber and green travel lists in our previous blog post to make sure you’re informed.

You can also use PCR tests such as ours for day 2 and 8 testing. This is required to leave isolation on return from red and amber countries; a day 2 test is required following your return from a green country. Moreover, you will use a PCR test if you decide to cut your isolation short on day 5 with a Test to Release. You can find out more about our Covid testing procedure in our previous blog post.

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When should I not take the test?

It is important to note that this test is not suitable for those currently experiencing Covid symptoms, or those who have experienced symptoms in the 28 days before taking the test. If you fit into either of these categories, we instead advise you to follow Government guidance with regards to testing and self-isolation.

How can I travel safely during Covid?

Although Covid-related measures are easing in the UK, we know that you may still have anxiety surrounding travel. In order to ensure that you are prepared, we would recommend booking in with us as soon as you can. If you are looking to minimise your Covid risk whilst travelling, we have compiled the 3 steps to safe travel during Covid in our latest blog post.

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Don’t get caught out – contact your local branch to book in for your PCR test today!

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This post was written on behalf of Knights Pharmacy by Carla Moore from Pharmacy Mentor