Something that has cropped up both online, and in the real world recently is the assumption that a negative COVID test will free you from quarantine.
Unfortunately, thats not the case. At least in the UK.
Following my recent visit to Spain, it was suggested by a few online that I could skip quarantine by producing a negative COVID test. It was something I looked into. However, I didnt have to look too hard to find out this wasn’t an option. I didn’t think it was to be honest, but I searched anyway.
I carried out my 2 weeks quarantine without too much hardship. Although between me and you, I could have quite easily have skipped it. No checks were made on me during those two weeks. Although I have been told of people that were checked up on.
Upon chatting to management at my company, I was informed that the company policy was that if you could provide a negative test result, you would be allowed back on to site without quarantine. That was a very generous company policy I thought. However, you’d still be breaking the law by skipping quarantine. It turns out the managment, whilst having the best intentions, weren’t totally clued up with the procedures. As it turned out, this affected a few people in the company, who had planned trips and thought they could avoid the 2 weeks off work after, by providing the negative COVID test.
Things Could Change
Whilst many other countries allow you to take a test on arrival to avoid quarantine, the UK seems reluctant to adopt this. Officials from Heathrow Airport, British Airways and a number of other UK travel authorities have suggested to the government urging for the UK to follow suit. Especially after the doors to Spain slammed shut a few weeks back.
The reasoning being that it can take more than a few days for the virus to materialise. Therefore,if you take a test as you arrive, it will show a negative result. Fast forward a few days, the virus has done its thing, and youre infecting people as you go about your usual routine. If you’re asymptomatic, you wont even be aware, as you produced a negative COVID test result. This is the reason for the 14 day quarantine. By that point, in theory, you’ll be fine.
Although having said that, say I did pick up the virus on my trip to Spain. I was asymptomatic. I did my 14 day quarantine, unaware that I was infected. On day 15, I went out, feeling absolutely fine, yet still carrying the virus. Although I’m sure the relevant authorities have considered that, and have concluded that after 14 days, you’re safe regardless. Otherwise you’d think the quarantine period would be a lot longer.
Is It A Good Deal Though?
Heathrow is proposing a system where a test is done upon arrival to the airport. Then you head off into quarantine for between 5-8 days before a second test is carried out. No doubt you will then have to wait a day or two for the results of the second test, so you will still have to be in quarantine for a substantial amount of time. On top of this, you’d have to pay £150 for the test. For me personally, I’d rather take the 4 days or so of quarantine and hold on to my cash. And I suspect most will be of the same opinion.
Things Will Have To Change
The travel industry has already been hit harder than it has ever been before. Whilst a number of people see travelling anywhere abroad is extremely unsafe, there are people out there who do want to travel. But are being put off by the constantly shifting goal posts. The people who see it as unsafe likely won’t be convinced no matter what measures are put in place. They are a lost cause. However, for those who do want to travel, but are put off by any sudden quarantine measures they are the people that need to be convinced.
Despite my issue with the Spanish quarantine rules, I wasn’t deterred. Although if I find myself in the same situation again, I may have to question whether to carry on travelling until things calm down a lot more. I suspect many out there have those feelings before they have even booked anything.
If the travel industry is to get back on track, a sufficient and quick testing system will have to be in place. And soon. If a system comes in that only requires a 2 day quarantine, that will be far more palatable than a 2 week quarantine. But who knows when, or if, that will happen.
As it stands at the moment, however:
A negative COVID test won’t let you skip quarantine in the UK.
Information sourced from Forbes