• COVID-19 • COVID-19 Travel

Breaking News: Day 2 PCR testing reinstated

Posted: 27/11/2021

Pre-Departure and Day 2 PCR testing reintroduced in response omicron COVID variant

UPDATED: From 4am on Tuesday 7 December anyone aged 12 and above wishing to travel to the UK will need to show a negative pre-departure test, which can be either LFT or PCR. This must be taken no more than 48 hours before departure. If you are based in the UK and planning a holiday you can book a LFT with Mayfield Clinic that you can take abroad with you, ensuring you meet all your testing requirements.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the reintroduction of PCR testing for all arrivals in the UK, regardless of vaccination status.

Previously, vaccinated arrivals to the UK have been permitted to take a Day 2 Rapid Antigen test (Lateral Flow), and have not been required to quarantine. Thanks to the outbreak of the omicron variant, this has now changed. The change to PCR tests allow for genomic sequencing if a test is positive, which can identify which strain of the virus is present. 

If you’re entering the UK there are different testing requirements, depending on your vaccination status.



What are the testing requirements for the UK if I’m vaccinated?
If you are vaccinated and arriving from a non red list country you will need to quarantine on arrival until you have completed a negative Day 2 PCR Test before the end of day 2 (with day 0 being the day you arrive in the UK. You must get your PCR test from a private provider, such as Mayfield Clinic.

Lateral flow tests will no longer be accepted. 

You can leave quarantine if your test is negative.

What are the testing requirements for the UK if I’m not fully vaccinated?
If you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated and arriving from a non red list country you must book and pay for a Day 2 and Day 8 PCR Test to be taken while in quarantine.You must take the first test on or before day 2 and the second test on or after day 8 (day 0 being the day you arrived in the UK).

Whether your Day 2 test is positive or negative you must remain in quarantine. If your Day 8 test is negative you can stop quarantine, but if it is positive you must remain in quarantine the full 10 days after arrival.

You may be able to end your quarantine early if you purchase a Day 5 Test to Release. If your Day 2 test is negative, you can take a further test on Day 5 and if it is negative you may leave quarantine. 

You must still take your Day 8 test even if your Day 5 is negative.



Where can I book my Arrivals tests for entry to the UK?
Mayfield Clinic is a registered provider of Day 2 PCR testing in Oxford, London and across the UK.

Mayfield Clinic Day 2 PCR tests can be returned for a next day result in Oxford, Tunbridge Wells and London (Richmond and Knightsbridge locations), and can be upgraded to a Same Day result for £100.

Mayfield Clinic also offers testing packages for those travellers who are not fully vaccinated, that can include the Day 5 Test to Release option. 

You can book your Day 2 PCR self-test via the buttons below or visit the Arrivals’ Testing page to choose which option you need. 

Day 2 PCR

From £149

Mandatory for all arrivals into the UK. Fast turnaround. Registered provider.

  • Fast turnaround
  • Genomic sequencing for positive results
  • Self test
  • Instant booking reference

Day 2 PCR - Same Day Results

From £249

Mandatory for all arrivals into the UK. Fast turnaround. Registered provider.

  • Same day results
  • Genomic sequencing for positive results
  • Self test
  • Instant booking reference

Day 2 testing back to PCR tests only from today

The Healthcare Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced that anyone entering England can no longer use a lateral flow device for their day 2 test but must submit a PCR test.  We still don't have details of what that means but it looks like when you arrive in the UK you must now take a PCR test on or before day 2 with day 0 being the day you enter the country.

You may be asking why the change?  We know that lateral flow device (LFD) tests are very accurate, particularly in a healthy population without COVID symptoms.  But the information that the UKHSA will be looking for is the genomic sequence of any Covid viruses that are coming into the UK, and the only way to get that information is by sending a sample to the lab for the PCR test.  This test is a laboratory test used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail.  Any COVID variants of concern can then be identified and measures taken to trace contacts and minimise the chance of spread.  The LFD test gives an answer of either ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to is there genetic material from COVID viruses, the PCR gives much more specific and detailed information.

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