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All international arrivals in quarantine are required to take a test on or before day 2 (of their quarantine period), for variant surveillance, and a test on or after day 8 (of their quarantine period).
Private providers may provide tests for day 2 and day 8 testing for international arrivals travelling from countries that do not have a travel ban (non ‘red list’ countries).
From 26 April, private providers may provide tests for day 2 and day 8 testing for international arrivals who have been in or transited through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days before their arrival.
By law, all tests privately provided on day 2 and day 8 for international arrivals must meet minimum standards as outlined in the guidance below. The first section sets out minimum standards that apply for both day 2 and day 8 tests. The second section sets out additional specific standards for day 2 tests and the third section sets out additional specific standards for day 8 tests.
International arrivals who have arrived from countries that do not have a travel ban, non ‘red list’ countries, will still be able to opt in to Test to Release for international travel to shorten their quarantine period. Providers for Test to Release must also meet certain minimum standards.
Minimum standards that apply to day 2 and day 8 tests
1. Requirement for a medical director and healthcare scientist
The provider of the test must have a designated resourced role that has oversight and approval of medical practices undertaken by the provider and responsibility for reporting medical issues. The individual must be a registered medical practitioner ‒ registered with the General Medical Council.
The provider must also have a designated resourced role that has oversight of clinical practices undertaken by the provider and responsibility for reporting clinical issues. The individual must be a registered medical practitioner or a healthcare scientist, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. The same individual may fulfil both roles (medical and clinical), providing they are duly registered.
2. Requirement for effective system of clinical governance
The provider of the test must have an effective system of clinical governance in place, which includes appropriate standard operating procedures in relation to the carrying out of the tests being provided for mandatory testing for international arrivals.
- clear governance and lines of accountability such as senior responsible officer, clinical lead, quality lead, training lead
- staff are appropriately trained and there is evidence of competency assessment and participation in relevant external quality assessment (EQA)
- liability and indemnity cover for staff for laboratory testing, a verification report for the laboratory element of the test (known as the assay), in line with national protocols (for laboratory-based testing) information management systems to monitor sample delivery and tracking systems to meet the provisions for handling, transportation and analysis of test samples
- for laboratory testing, working to containment level CL3 or CL2+ with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approval systems, processes and record management to support the delivery of safe and reliable service