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Return from Italy to UK during COVID-19 pandemic

This blog is the second part about experiences during our trip to Italy during COVID-19 pandemic and is focusing on procedures before and after return.

Traveling to the UK from a country on yellow list

In June 2021 we had to go from UK to Italy; at that time Italy was on yellow travel list and only essential travel to those countries was allowed. So, we had to follow tough rules upon our return including tests and self-isolation. Since then, some rules have changed and, for example, there may be no self-isolation requirement for those who are double-jabbed. However, I would always recommend to check the latest Government guidance and in particular foreign travel advice, which is being updated regularly and changing often depending on situation in each country.

Rules to enter the UK

We had to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test before travelling to England from Italy. The test had to be taken in the 3 days before the departure from Italy. Fortunately, rapid antigen test was acceptable, so the process did not take too much time apart of getting to the testing site in Italy.

There are specific technical criteria the test should meet, although those collecting sample normally would be aware about those. Another difficulty was that in England only results in either English, French or Spanish would be accepted. So, tests themselves may even be for free, however translation will cost some money; we paid 20 euro for our test and document evidencing test results.

Only test taken by a private test provider are accepted; they also ask to provide some mandatory details with your results, for example, your name, which should match the name on your travel documents, your date of birth or age, obviously, the result of the test, the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider, the name of the test provider and their contact details and confirmation of the device used for the test, or that the test was a PCR test.

Passenger locator form before travel to England

There are some more requirements to enter the UK from Italy or any other yellow list country. You must complete a passenger locator form before your travel to England. To be able to do that, you must book your Day 2 and Day 8 tests, otherwise you will not be able to complete the form. Another for we found quite ridiculous was that you are able to complete the form no more than 48 hours before your flight departure (that was not the case with form required by Italians).

To be on safe side, we booked our Day 2 and Day 8 tests before our departure to Italy but had to leave completing passenger locator for before returning.

COVID tests after return

As I wrote in my previous blog about travelling to Italy during COVID, we decided to book our Day 2 and Day 8 tests at Medicspot. This time those were PCR tests as required by the Government.

I know many other people using Medicspot testing and it has been working well. The downside of this is that they do not have that many collection points and on one occasion when I delivered our test samples, the box was so full that it was really hard to find a space for our tests. Fortunately, they were not lost and we got our negative results on the second day.

I did not mention self-isolation here, however I should. It really was quite a challenge to be at home ten days in a row. We got calls from track and trace every day including the last day.