Covid-19 testing for travellers leaving the UK has started to become more common. More countries have started to adopt the requirement for passengers to be Covid-19 tested before boarding flights, and to show a negative result.
Most airlines and countries that do ask for passengers to be Covid-19 tested, normally require passengers to have a Covid-19 PCR swab test. This can also been known as a nucleic acid test.
Please be aware this test is NOT the same as, or compatible with, the free NHS test that is available.
The standard requirement is for the passenger to receive a negative test result within 72 hours of their flight departure.
Any students that have a connecting flight should be aware that the 72 hour window comes into effect from the departure time of the final flight.
Due to the turnaround time for all tests, we recommend using a clinic and not a courier service.
Firstly, we will check on the country requirements and initially establish what test is required.
Bright World has found a company which has four clinics, all located around London, that can assist. Tests can take place at clinics around the UK. Depending on where the clinic is we can find one nearer to a student's school and make sure the timings will work out with their flight departure times. We also need to make sure that the test they provide is suitable for the country they are travelling to. We also will check that the clinic has an ISO number and UKAS accreditation.
Tests should be booked by overseas parents, as special consents are asked for which we are not qualified to give. Once the test is booked, we can arrange an escorted visit to the clinic. For younger students, our Bright World Buddies and trusted drivers have stayed with the child while they are having the test.
We are pleased we have been able to assist and get students home.
The Hong Kong Government currently require that the Covid-19 PCR swab test is carried out in a laboratory that is on the UKAS list.
The certificate must have an ISO number compliant with Hong Kong and current UKAS accreditation. Documentation must be provided as evidence of the laboratory's status for accreditation.
Tests can be taken at the airport but Bright World is not permitting students to do this, due to the safeguarding threat that this creates, should a student test positive. We would not be able to arrange for anyone to drive the student and would be unable to provide accommodation for them in a host family, if they had tested positive. If parents can confirm that a family friend would come and collect them from the airport and look after them if this did occur then, of course, we can assist in booking an airport test.
Testing for China is much more complicated, as two tests need to be taken, and the time frame prior to the flight is shorter.
The Chinese Government currently requires an IGM antibody test, as well as a Covid-19 PCR test (nucleic acid test). However, passengers need to receive both negative test results within 48 hours of their flight departure. Again, please note that if this is a connecting flight, this is the departure time of the final flight. From 8 December, reports of both the nucleic acid (COVID-19) and IgM (antibody) tests must come from the same service provider. This does not mean the provider must carry out both tests, but that the provider must guarantee both test reports.
The IGM antibody test is a blood test. The test will either be a blood vial taken from the arm, or a pin prick to the finger and a suction pump attached to fill the vial. This has to be done by a medical professional at a recognised clinic.
Once the passenger has received both negative results and a 'Fit to Fly' certificate, the documents must be uploaded to WeChat to obtain the HS green code which is needed before the flight.
Bright World can help to recommend an accredited test centre, please contact us for more information. We have had good experiences with Corona Test Centre and would recommend parents use this one to make appointments. They have four clinics near and in London.
Here is the list of all the UKAS Accredited Organisations offering Covid-19 tests. Please note that this list is not maintained by Bright World.
Su Warren, Director of Guardianships and Operations, has become our resident expert on testing and has helped several students get home safely already. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.