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PCR or Antigen test?

PCR or Antigen test?

Old Aug 6th 2021, 6:41 pm
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Default PCR or Antigen test?

I'm flying back to the UK on Monday from Madrid so the "new" rules apply to me. The UK govt is again causing confusion. I had already booked an antigen test for tomorrow morning complying with the "old" rules. Now the govt are saying that they are "advising" we take a pcr test "wherever possible". Listening to to the BBC the day after the new rules were announced their take on this was that this was guidance and not a legal requirement so we could still choose which type of test to take. A few newspaper websites also support this view. I thought I'd do another check to make sure and there is now an update on the govt website and they have now put a specific box up saying that those people flying back from Spain and advised to take a pcr test and dropped the "wherever possible" bit. I don't really want to shell out for a pcr test (actually 2 including my wife) if I don't have to and also I am not sure I can arrange fro a PCR test over the weekend and get a result back by midday on Monday.

Anybody have any views on this?
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 7:11 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

Its advisory, but they would like you to get a PCR. Why, is the antigen test rubbish? I would forget the ludicrously expensive PCR test.

The chances of anyone checking at all at Heathrow are pretty small as most of the border control staff have been pinged.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 7:20 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

My guess is it's more about antigen tests being less reliable than PCR and there are a lot of Covid cases in Spain, but if nobody in the UK government can clearly state what they do and don't want and why then who's to say? Exhibit A: the recent nonsense over France.

Last edited by DLC; Aug 6th 2021 at 7:23 pm.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

The problem is that I will be flying about 24 hours after the rules have changed and so we'll probably be some of the first to see this new rule or guidance in action. I'm probably going to have to stump up the extra cash to get the pcr tests (if they can turn around the results in time) as I can't face my partner's reaction if we are not allowed on our flight - unless of course the govt provides clear rules tonight (which is not going to happen).
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

gov.uk says "advised":

Travel from Spain and its islands - if you are travelling to England from Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca), you are advised to take a PCR type test before travel.
If anyone advises me to do something I'd like to know why first, and if they were really going to turn me away then it would read "must". If they were doing this properly, there would be a cut-off date for antigen tests after the announcement. But it's none of those things.

Anyway, you'll have PCR tests in the UK after arriving
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

I'm a lawyer and I agree with you and that's my lawyer's interpretation as well. However, the person checking my paperwork at Madrid airport and the border control at gatwick are not. I think after this trip I'm staying put until the world gets sensible again.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 8:46 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

Here's Grant Shapps on Today, 2 hours 10 minutes in. After hearing this I have less idea now than I did before.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 9:02 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

yes I heard that as well. His whole interview is full of contradictions and misleading statements. I have re-read the govt website and the whole section uses the word "must" all the time. You must do this, you must do that, the test must satisfy these requirements etc. Then in the new section about Spain they say you are advised to.....They do not say you "must" take a pcr test. Well my appointment at the testing centre is at 9am tomorrow morning and I'll decide on how i feel in the morning but its going to cost an extra 150 euros or so for 2 pcr tests which we probably don't need to take. grrr!
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 9:39 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

It's purely advisory so just get an antigen, Grant Shapps just doesn't know what he is on about to be honest, like the rest of them, he said the reason for the advice is to keep a track of the variants, presumably he was forgetting that you have a PCR test on or before day 2 when your in the UK so the information is there if they want
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Old Aug 7th 2021, 7:54 am
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

The NHS advice is to get an antigen test (LFT) if you don't have symptoms and a PCR if you do, but nobody in any lab in the UK will get to see a positive PCR result in Spain.

Last edited by DLC; Aug 7th 2021 at 7:58 am.
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Old Aug 8th 2021, 8:47 am
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

I had an antigen test in the end - for a few reasons: I had decided on this after reading your responses and doing a little more digging; the few other Brits in the queue at the testing centre were all doing the same and the final very important thing - the testing centre was not doing any pcr tests that day!

Flying tomorrow afternoon. I'll write a post afterwards to let you know if there were any issues in case anybody else has a similar issue in the coming weeks.

Thanks for all of your responses.
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Old Aug 8th 2021, 12:55 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

I took the ferry last Monday after having an anti gen test last Saturday.
The certificate from the test was briefly looked at by the ferry staff, not checked as such. Nobody UK side asked to see it.
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Old Aug 8th 2021, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

Originally Posted by VEDShappy
I took the ferry last Monday after having an anti gen test last Saturday.
The certificate from the test was briefly looked at by the ferry staff, not checked as such. Nobody UK side asked to see it.
I can look over a document and pick out what I need to see; the same would go for a person looking over 50+ a day or more. That is their job.

As to the UK side, you would not have been allowed to board if all your documents were not correct so that is a mute point.
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Old Aug 8th 2021, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

Originally Posted by growinspain
I can look over a document and pick out what I need to see; the same would go for a person looking over 50+ a day or more. That is their job.

As to the UK side, you would not have been allowed to board if all your documents were not correct so that is a mute point.
Yes, it was exactly as I expected.
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Old Aug 9th 2021, 6:27 am
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Default Re: PCR or Antigen test?

Brighton67 I hope all went well for you. May I ask who you booked the day 2 test with? I went through the government approved list of providers here: Choose a provider for your day 2 test - GOV.UK (find-travel-test-provider.service.gov.uk) and found that most of them were just sharks with incorrectly advertised prices to get to the top of the list.

I'm getting used to lies and corruption but I'm quite surprised Boris is allowing this instead of directing the cash directly to his mates.
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