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Article: What Is the Day 5 Test To Release

What Is the Day 5 Test To Release

What Is the Day 5 Test To Release

All international travellers to the UK arriving from a country that isn’t on the UK's travel ban list are expected to self-isolate for 10 days. They must also do a mandatory Day 2 Covid-19 test and another Day 8 test.

However, to shorten their quarantine period, UK travellers have the option of getting a Day 5 Test to Release.

So, what is Day 5 Test To Release?

Well, this is a PCR test that is taken on day 5 of the self-isolation period. In case the test turns out to be negative, the traveller can end their quarantine early.

What Is Covid-19 Day 5 Test To Release

To help you better understand the 5-Day Test and Release, here’s a detailed look at the test.

The Test To Release Day 5 scheme helps international travellers required to isolate on arrival in the UK shorten their quarantine period from 10 days to 6 days. The test is available for adults and children aged 5 and over.

If you arrive in the United Kingdom from an amber-listed country, the law requires you to isolate yourself for a period of 10 days. However, one can avoid a quarantine by taking a PCR test on day 5. For instance, if you arrive in the UK on Tuesday, then Wednesday will be your first full day in England. Thus, you are expected to take the Day 5 Test to Release on Sunday. 

If you take the test and the result is negative, then you’ll be free to leave quarantine immediately. But if the test result is positive, you’ll have to continue self-isolating until the ten days are over, as per the NHS guidelines.

Notably, travellers who have transited or are arriving from a red-list country can’t use the 5-Day Test to Release scheme. Such travellers are expected to quarantine for the full 10 days.

How Does Day 5 Test to Release Work?

Well, to help stop the spread of Covid-19 it’s mandatory for travellers entering the United Kingdom to self-isolate for ten days. Additionally, they must take Day 2 and Day 8 Covid-19 tests during their quarantine period.

However, if you’re travelling to the UK from an amber-listed country, and you’d want to leave quarantine early, you can take advantage of the Test to Release scheme. This scheme requires you to take an additional PCR test, but it can be done no earlier than Day 5 of your quarantine period.

Travellers are advised to book their 5-Day Test to Release before they travel and also complete a passenger locator form. Test booking can be done with any of the testing providers listed on the GOV.UK site.  

Notably, the test applies to passengers arriving in England from amber-listed countries by ferry, train, or plane.

What Is a Cost of a Test to Release

First thing to note is that the Day 5 Test To Release is done at the cost of the traveller. The cost will vary from one provider to the other. Some of the factors that may affect the cost of the test include how long you’ll wait for the results and where you want to take the test. For instance, do you want a self-swab at-home test, an in-person test, or a supervised test at a test centre?

Passengers can book the test from a private provider on the GOV.UK list before their arrival and provide the details of the provider on their passenger locator form. Passengers also have the option of buying the test after arrival. In such a case, the passenger will need to update and resubmit their passenger locator form.

How Can You Take Advantage of the Test to Release

If you’re planning to travel to the UK, the 5-Day Test to Release can help you get a shorter period of quarantine.

Here’s how you can take advantage of the test.

  • Book your Covid-19 5-Day Test and Release before you arrive in England.  You can choose to do the test at your residence or the provider’s testing site.  In case you have to take the test in a test clinic, ensure you return directly to your residence to self-isolate after the test.

  • Fill out the passenger locator form 48 hours before you enter the UK. Ensure you include your Day 5 Test to Release reference number. In case you book the Day 5 Test To Release after arrival in the UK, you’ll be required to fill out another passenger locator form and update your Test to Release reference number.

  • Once you’re done with the test, continue to self-isolate. The test results will be available on the same day or in a few days. If the results of the test are negative, you’re allowed to leave quarantine immediately. However, you’ll still have to take the day 8 Covid-19 test even if the results are negative.

Notably, the Test to Release isn’t available to everyone. Travellers from highly risky countries will still be required to quarantine for the full 10 days.

Things You Should Know About At-Home Testing

lateral flow tests buy

The Day 5 Test to Release is a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

PCR tests are considered to be the gold standard for Covid-19 testing as they offer the highest level of sensitivity. This means that the test can detect the Covid-19 virus even when it’s in very low amounts in the body. Additionally, a PCR test can help confirm a negative FlowFlex Covid-19 test or any other lateral flow test, as it’s highly accurate.

Notably, PCR tests are different from rapid antigen tests, which are commonly referred to as Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs). Although not as sensitive as a PCR test, a rapid antigen test such as the travel Healgen antigen test kit is recommended for the Day 2 Covid-19 test. The test is also convenient for travelers as it can be done at home. The result of the lateral flow test must be reported to the UK government, even if it’s negative.

The Day 5 Test to Release PCR test can be done at a test site or at home. If you’re using an at-home PCR test kit, you need to follow the sample collection instructions carefully, as the accuracy of the test may be affected by how you collect the sample.

Before you start using your Day 5 Test to Release at-home kit, here are a few things to remember:

 If you aren’t ready to use the test kit, store it safely by:

  • Keeping it sealed until you’re ready to open it
  • Storing it in the recommended temperature ranges

Once you’re ready to use your at-home testing kit:

  •  Read the instructions carefully before you open the kit
  •  Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before handling the kit
  • Check the kit’s expiration date. Also, check the contents and ensure nothing is damaged or missing
  • To collect your nasal or throat sample, follow the instructions carefully
  • Package the collected sample as per the instructions
  • Post the collected test sample to the address of the private provider given

Once the provider receives the test sample, they’ll send it to the lab for analysis. The results may be available in 24 hours or a few days


In closing, travelers arriving in the UK from amber-listed countries are expected by law to quarantine for ten days. 

However, such travelers can shorten their quarantine period by half by taking the Day 5 Test and Release. This test can be taken on or after day 5 of the self-isolation period. If the traveler’s Test and Release result is a negative Covid-19 test, they are allowed to stop the mandatory self-isolation immediately.

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