Since the start of the pandemic back in 2020, airports across the UK have been rushing to ensure that some of the most stringent control measures are taken in order to ensure that staff and travellers are protected from contracting the coronavirus or falling ill within the airport. Health protective measures are widely used to ensure the safety of passengers and airport staff. At the same time, the responsibility of the passenger’s health before entering the airport is completely theirs, that’s why now, in order to be allowed on a plane passengers are required to present a negative Covid-19 test. Depending on the country of arrival, they can take a PCR or an antigen test to confirm their status. This can be done at home or at the testing centre located near the airport, as long as it is booked in advance. Antigen tests are an innovative and rapid version, however, due to the reliability a PCR test offers, it is considered the golden standard for Covid-19 testing. Read this article to find out everything there is to know before booking a PCR test at Heathrow Airport.
What Are PCR tests?
How PCR tests are performed is a highly technical procedure involving various complicated medical equipment and medical personnel. The medical technicians have to take a swab sample from the patient very carefully and should take precautions not to make any mistakes or to compromise the accuracy of the test results. The tests can be performed in a laboratory setting or at home as long as the steps are followed and the sample is taken for further analysis right after the test was carried out.
PCR Tests VS Antigen Tests
Both types of tests have been widely used in the testing process across the world, however, there are big differences among them that sets them apart. While antigen tests look for proteins on the surface of the virus to determine the presence of the pathogen, PCR tests look for the genetic material called RNA that prompts the virus to make these proteins.
PCR tests play a major role in foreign travel, especially for those travelling from red countries. Most countries now have started to grant temporary entry to foreign tourists with negative antigens results, which are considerably cheaper and much more rapid. There are only a handful of countries that require PCR tests, however, on return to the UK, all travellers are required to take at least one PCR test. There are a few options on how this can be done, but they must show proof of their PCR test booking before boarding a flight to the UK.
The United Kingdom is planning to make a slight change to its PCR requirements, however, no official announcements have been made in that regard. In addition, the push for regular testing with rapid tests is still happening. The government encourages more testing to detect any outbreaks of the virus already present in the country. This action enables the government to monitor the general state of the public.
Booking A PCR Test Heathrow Airport
You can book a PCR test at Heathrow airport online and avoid any queues and delays at the testing centre. Most testing centres will offer a choice of either a drive-through or a walk-through Covid-19 test. If you book online you can usually get the results sent to your email to be presented before your flight. Alternatively, you can collect the PCR certificate on arrival at the airport, however, you should double-check if your test provider offers that.
Whether you’re planning a vacation or a business journey, make sure to study very accurately the entry requirements of the country you are flying to. Regulations are changing very often so you should make sure you are on top of it. Make a list of all your tasks as it is quite easy nowadays to get carried away. Since coronavirus is here to stay, we should get used to Covid-19 testing and given the high demand, it is worth checking in advance whether the testing centre will be able to accommodate you. To avoid any disappointments, the ultimate advice is to book your PCR test at Heathrow airport in advance to have a stress-free journey.