News, Policy & Media


Ministers set out information for suppliers of new air travel testing scheme

The Government has set out testing requirements for test providers involved in supplying the upcoming “Test to Release” air travel passenger testing programme. The scheme will allow air passengers to reduce their quarantine period via a confirmed negative COVID-19 test result. From 15th December, passengers will be able to purchase tests from private providers who meet the specific requirements. Minimum standards for tests directed at the private sector have thus been published for industry to consult.

Among the minimum standards set out is that 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 and registered with the General Medical Council. An effective system of governance must be in place also. This is in regards to staff training, accountability, information management systems and process management. The test device must be permitted to be put into service in accordance with part 4 of the Medical Devices Regulations 2002, other than solely by virtue of regulation 39(2) of those regulations.

Providers may only issue tests to international arrivals on or after the fifth full day after the international arrival leaves a destination not on the travel corridor list (the provider may not issue tests before the end of the fourth full day). Police have the power to request full evidence of an individual’s test result in order to verify their ability to end quarantine or their duty to continue self-isolating.

Test providers must notify the international arrival taking the test within 24 hours of their result becoming available by email, text message, letter or secure web portal. Standardised notification messages for different test results have been laid out in the guidance also which companies must take heed of. A self-declaration process has been set out for private providers requesting to be added to the list of “Test to Release for International Travel” providers. The list of providers will be published on GOV.UK closer to 15 December. Please access the full minimum requirements page here.


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