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COVID-19 Travel Quiz

UK Summer 2021: What you need to know about going abroad during COVID-19.

With many new travel rules now in place in the UK, do you know what you need or don’t need to do before hopping on a plane this summer? Take our short quiz to find out.

Please note that this quiz is not diagnostic, it is for information purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health, please see a medical professional.

You can travel to countries on the UK government’s amber list. True or false?

True. The UK government’s traffic light system splits countries into green, amber or red, depending on their COVID-19 risk. From 19 July, UK residents who’ve been fully vaccinated with an NHS vaccine at least 14 days before leaving the UK will be able to travel to some amber list countries without having to quarantine when they return to the UK. You’ll still need a negative COVID-19 test result before you travel back to the UK and you’ll have to take a private COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of your arrival.

But, if you haven’t been fully vaccinated and you travel to an amber list country, you’ll have to take a pre-departure test, quarantine for 10 days on returning and have 2 private tests after arriving in the UK. This may also apply to some amber list countries even if you’ve been fully vaccinated. For red list countries, you’ll need to get a negative test result before setting off, stay in hotel quarantine in the UK for 10 days and have 2 private tests after your arrival. You can travel to any country on the green list without having to quarantine when you return, but you’ll have to organise a test before you travel back, and when you arrive in the UK.

But remember that countries may be moved between the green, amber and red lists at short notice – and that travel rules may also change. Check your government’s foreign travel advice regularly, as well as that of the country you’re travelling to.


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the lateral flow COVID-19 tests are the same thing. True or false?

False. They’re quite different. A PCR test is the most accurate test available right now to tell if you currently have COVID-19. They work by looking for the genetic code (called RNA) of the virus in a nose and throat swab, with results given in a day or 2. You should take this test if you think you have symptoms.

Lateral flow tests aren’t as sensitive as PCR tests, but they’re cheaper and give a result within 30 minutes. They look for proteins (antigens) from the virus, which can also be detected in a nose and throat swab. If you get a positive lateral flow test result, you should take a PCR test to confirm that you have COVID-19, and self-isolate while you wait for the results. .


You always need to take a COVID-19 test before you’re allowed back into the UK. True or false?

True. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, you’ll need to take a lateral flow test or a PCR test with a reputable test provider before returning to the UK, and a PCR test on or before day 2 after your arrival back in the UK. You must take the pre-departure test in the 3 days before your flight arrives in the UK. If you’ve been in a red list country, an amber list country and you’re not fully vaccinated, or an amber list country where you have to quarantine when you get back to the UK, you’ll need to take another PCR test on or after day 8 after arriving back in the UK. You’ll need to have these tests, even if you’ve been vaccinated.


You can get free COVID-19 tests from the NHS before travelling abroad. True or false?

False. You can get a test on the NHS if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, but you can’t use NHS tests to prove that you’re fit to travel. Instead, you’ll need to have a private test.


An antibody test can tell you if you’ve had COVID-19. True or false?

True. This blood test checks if you’ve had COVID-19 before, by looking for antibodies, which build up in your body when it’s fighting infections. But some people who've had the virus don’t have antibodies, so this test doesn’t work for them.

Some countries may ask you to take an antibody test to prove that you’ve had the virus and recovered, as well as showing a negative test result before arriving.


You need to take a mask with you when you travel abroad. True or false?

True. No matter where you’re going, wearing a mask at the airport, on the plane and when you arrive at your destination is a must. Some countries have stricter rules than others, but generally you’ll need to wear one when you’re around other people, including on public transport and in shops.


You don’t need to worry about travel insurance for your trip. True or false?

False. It’s never been more important to get cover – some countries might not even let you in without proof of it. Before buying yours, make sure you’re clear on what it covers, including whether it covers the country you’re going to, as well as medical expenses and travel issues if you get COVID-19. If you don’t take out insurance, you’ll have to foot the bill if you have any medical or travel problems.


A passenger locator form (PLF) needs to be filled in before you leave and re-enter the UK because it allows the government to let you know if you’ve come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 while travelling. True or false?

True. Your PLF will be checked at the border (both at your destination and in the UK) – it includes your COVID-19 test history, where you’ll be staying while abroad and your permanent address in the UK.

You need to complete this form (usually 24 hours) before leaving the UK and up to 48 hours before you come back – not doing so could result in a fine, or being refused entry. Once completed, a QR code will be sent to you up to 24 hours before your trip. Have this ready to show at the airport like a boarding pass – either print it out on paper or show it on your phone.


Some countries will let you in if you can prove you've had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccines?

True. That’s right, but at the moment, not many countries are accepting this proof of vaccination status before allowing travellers in. If you’ve had both COVID-19 jabs, you can prove this by using the NHS app. If you prefer paper, call 119 to ask for an official NHS vaccine letter to be posted to you – this usually takes 7 working days.


You need to show a COVID-19 ‘Fit to Fly’ medical certificate before going anywhere abroad. True or false?

False. You don’t always need this certificate, which is written by a doctor to confirm you don’t have COVID-19, but you do need to show a negative COVID-19 test result that usually needs to be done within the 72-hour period before arriving in another country. Some places may also accept proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status or antibody test results (if you’ve had COVID-19 and got better). If you’re unsure about the rules for where you’re going, check the government’s foreign travel advice.


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