Do I Need A PCR Test To Travel
With society having somewhat recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to maintain the health of communities at large, new measures have been implemented in order to avoid another surge in infections.
Governments and society have made efforts to make improvements on collective cleanliness, with sanitiser dispensers being typical in most environments. But did you know, depending on where you visit, you may need to book a PCR test. Now you may be wondering, what is a PCR test, or you may want to know ‘do I need a PCR test for travel?’
In this article, we at Official Rapid Tests have all the answers you need.
Understanding a PCR test
A common laboratory technique originally developed in the 1980s, the function of the PCR’s procedure is to amplify or copy small segments of genetic material.
Using COVID-19 PCR kits as an example, they use a ‘primer’ ,which is a strand of DNA sequence from the virus in question (in this case the SARS-CoV-2) that matches and amplifies the virus (within the test kit) if it is detected in the testee’s body, ultimately providing in a positive test result.
Negative test results occur when the testee is not infected at all, resulting in the primer from the test kit having nothing to amplify. On the other hand, false negative tests can occur, this is when a testee is newly infected, but their sample does not contain enough genetic material for the primer to react.
False positive tests are known to happen, but at a lesser rate, sometimes due to outside factors such as improper preparation before a test, like not washing hands before handling the test kit, or not cleaning any surface the test kit will be used on. For a thorough look into the science of PCR click here. Read on to find out how to book a PCR test.
Do I need a PCR test to travel? Can I book a test?
This answer is not as simple as yes or no, as each country has its own guidelines and requirements that any visitor needs to adhere to. For example, entering or leaving the UK whilst being vaccinated means you do not have to be tested.
Whether it’s a PCR or an antigen test, the likelihood is that you will have to book a test to be granted access to travel abroad, depending on the countries rules.
But you may be wondering why do we still need to test people? Sadly the world witnessed the severity of this virus, so in order to prevent further global lockdowns, some degree of security measures had to be implemented, which in this case is testing.
If no testing takes place, and an infected individual attends a flight, the likelihood of spreading infection becomes certain due to the mass of people being in an enclosed space on the plane for an extended time. As well as touching surfaces at the airport, a space that is host to thousands of people on a daily basis.
In regards to knowing what tests you need to take before going overseas, Official Rapid Tests is here to help, with our short questionnaire we can tell you exactly what test you may need in order to travel abroad, saving you the hassle of researching more than you have to, so you can focus on your journey!
When it comes to finding your nearest test centre, we have over 120+ test centres in the UK. Simply click the link here to find your nearest test centre so you can book your test as soon as possible. If you would like more information on booking a PCR test for travel, we have a blog handy for any questions you may have.
Administering a PCR test at home
At Official Rapid Tests, we provide the option for you to have your PCR test delivered to your home for you to administer yourself. If you decide to take your PCR test at home, after ordering and receiving your test kit follow these guidelines on how to take a PCR test:
- Clean your hands with sanitizer, or wash your hands with soap and blow your nose.
- Clean the surface your test kit will be on, lay all the test materials on the surface once it is dry.
- Open your mouth and rub the swab over both your tonsils (or where they were) at the back of your throat. Do this 4 times on each side.
- insert the same swab inside your nose (about 2.5cm up or until you feel some resistance) and wipe the inside of your nose.
- Put the swab facing down into the tube and screw the lid tight.
- Put the tube in the bag provided.
- When posting the used kit, make sure to only post it in a Royal Mail Priority postbox which are for the sole purpose of receiving and delivering test kits.
If you are in need of booking a PCR test for travel, we recommend you take a read of our blog which provides extra information when it comes to a ‘fit to fly PCR test’.
Antigen test kits are an alternative form of testing available to you. Unlike PCR test kits that use a primer to ascertain whether the testee is infected. Antigen test kits use lab-made antibodies to search for antigens from the COVID-19 Virus.
Antigen testing kits have become a common method in establishing whether or not the testee has Covid. This is because antigen testing kits can also be done from home, with results made apparent in a much shorter frame of time, as the result of the test can be viewed on the Antigen test kit itself, as opposed to it being processed in a lab like PCR kits.
As opposed to PCR test kits that provide results in 24 hours, antigen kits provide results in as little as 15 minutes. The method of testing follows a simple procedure, different to the PCR method and is as follows, to take a rapid antigen test:
(Not all rapid antigen tests are the same. E.g. some test kits come with the tube and liquid in separate parts. So, always read the instructions on the box or leaflet before you do the test.)
Clean your hands with water and soap, or clean with sanitizer, then make note of the time, or have timer handy.
In the test kit, there should be a:
- White strip which shows you the test result
- A long stick with 1 soft end (swab)
- A tube with liquid inside
- A lid for the tube
When taking the test, make sure to:
- Take the long swab out of the packet. Do not touch the soft part at the end of the swab.
- Put the soft part of the swab up your nose.
- Slowly continue to insert the swab until you feel it touch the back of your nose.
- Rotate the swab around the inside of your nose.
- Count to 15 slowly.
- When the swab is in your nose, you can press on the side of your nose on the outside to ensure the swab has made proper contact.
- Repeat the process in the other nostril with the same swab you used initially.
- When you are done, put the swab into the tube.
- Stir the swab in the tube 10 times.
- Gently squeeze the sides of the tube together 10 times.
- Take the swab out of the tube.
- Put the cap tightly on the tube.
- Squeeze 3 to 4 drops of liquid onto the tiny circle on your white strip. This is where your results will be analysed by the kit.
- Set your timer or watch to the time that the box says (this could be 10, 15 or 20 minutes).
- When the time is up, check the strip to see what it says. Only read the strip at that time and not later. It might be incorrect then.
Do you need an antigen test kit? Our website provides these test kits for you. Want to know some more information about antigen test kits? Our blog contains all the relevant information that you need.
Find your test today
Official Rapid Tests is a trusted global supplier for Covid testing. We are the highest-rated UK Government listed provider on Trustindex.
All Official Rapid Tests are verified by the EU and the UK Government. We work with qualified front line doctors and tech experts to come up with the most convenient testing solutions for travel. We blend technology and medical expertise to offer the fastest and most convenient PCR testing service on the market.
If you are not sure which Covid test you may need, take our Quiz on our webpage here, and this will tell you which type of Covid test is suitable based on your travel requirements.
Within this article, we hope to provided valuable information for your travelling needs whilst answering the question ‘do I need a PCR test to travel?’.
Find out more about Official Rapid Tests by browsing our website here.
We have over 120 clinics nationwide where you can get a Covid test. Find your nearest test centre by clicking here.
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Read more articles on travelling and Covid tests on our blog here.