When do you need to take an antigen test?

What is an antigen test?

A coronavirus antigen test aims to detect COVID-19 proteins in the mouth and throat and determines whether the person has the virus. Antigen tests are a suitable ‘first line of defence’ against coronavirus, especially in individuals who have symptoms because it is a fairly simple process and is quicker than other types of testing like PCR. It usually takes about 15 minutes to get a result. If you’re looking for a reliable and efficient antigen test in Liverpool, contact Ghosh Medical Group.

Antigen tests for travel

With testing requirements recently changing, travellers returning to England now only have to take an antigen test if they are fully vaccinated instead of getting a more expensive PCR test.

Who needs to take a test?

You will have to take a coronavirus antigen test before you travel to England if you are either not fully vaccinated or you have been in a country or area on the red list in the ten days prior to your arrival in England. If you qualify as fully vaccinated against the virus and you have not been to a red list location, you won’t have to take a test before you travel to England.

Testing if you have recently had COVID-19

If you have recently recovered from the virus, but are no longer infectious, you should use an antigen/lateral flow test. Lateral flow tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, so the likelihood of them returning a positive result from an old infection is lower, but the test should still meet the minimum performance standards. These performance standards are at least 97% specificity and at least 80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.

When to take a test

You can take an antigen test any time in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England leaves. For instance, if you travel directly to England on a Friday, you can take a test anytime on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday as long as the test result is available and ready for boarding. Remember, you only need to take a test if you don’t qualify as fully vaccinated for travelling to England.

Where to take a test

You will need a private test provider like Ghosh Medical Group to get a test for travelling, you cannot get one through the NHS. You can decide to take a test in the location where you begin your journey or in another country on your way to England if you are passing through another country.

Taking a test when journeying to England

If you are going on a long journey to England, and you will be stopping in another country on the way, you should aim to take a test in the country you are travelling through. This is so you can take the test in the 3 days prior to boarding your final transport to England. For example, if you are driving from Germany and you stop for a couple of days in Belgium, you should take the test in Belgium.

Make sure you will be able to get a test

If you intend on taking a test in a country on your route to England, you must ensure that it is possible to do so before you set out. Some countries have various entry restrictions in place, which could mean you are not able to get tested there.

If you don’t have proof of a test because you planned to take a test on your journey, but couldn’t because you were not able to enter the country in which you intended to get tested, you will still be allowed to board. However, you might face a fine of £500 upon your arrival in England because you don’t have a valid test result. 

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