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Quarantine 2, 8 day tests and Day 5 Test for release


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We booked to go to France from the 9th - 24th July. And it was Great!


Initially we assumed that we would, as per the government regulations need to quarantine on our return, so we booked, through Boots, a Day 2 and Day 8 PCR kit for two (£360). These were delivered to our home address.

In the intervening period between receiving these kits and our departure it appeared that the regulations were going to change and that it would not be necessary to quarantine when returning from Europe, i.e. Europe would go from Amber to Green.


We were happy at the prospect of not needing to quarantine and reconciled to, if not enthusiastic about, that fact that we had paid £360 for two sets of PCR tests only one of which we would need - based on the fact that we would need to take one PCR test, two or more days after our return even if Europe went Green.


In the event the Government, for no apparent good reason decided to leave France on Amber and therefore the quarantine requirements for us, remained as they were.

This decision has been recently reiterated even though it appears the Beta variant is in retreat everywhere the Delta variant has a significant foothold (including France). And despite the fact that Beta infections in Spain are several times higher than in France. No doubt someone from the government will respond to this post and explain why this is?


Given that we were going to have to quarantine we decided to pay a further £170, for the two of us, in order to take advantage of the Day 5 Test for release - a PCR test that cannot be self- administered and with an advertised 24hr turnaround. (Incidentally we paid €25 each for negative Lateral Flow Tests in a pharmacy in France before our return.)


Our self administered 24hr PCR day 2 test was completed on day 2 after our return ie on the 26th July, and returned by post to a lab that Boots uses in Manchester that day. We got the results back 39hrs later on the 28th (not 24hrs). They were negative.


Our 5 day (or later) Test To Release booking was made for the sixth day since there were no tests available at Boots within forty miles of our house in Oxfordshire on Day 5. There was a test available at Boots in Oxford on day 6, so we took it. That was on Friday the 30th July at 11:00am. We are still waiting today (which is now Day 8) for the results of that test 52 hours (not 24hrs as promised) since we took the test.


Additionally, we have today taken our self administered Day 8 tests.

However finding a Royal Mail priority post box open on a Sunday has been a trial. We live just outside Chipping Norton, where there are no Priority Post boxes emptied on a Sunday, nor in Woodstock, nor in the whole of Oxford city. However there are at least five within 4 miles of the centre of Burford, all but one of them tiny postboxes stuck on posts or buried in walls in hamlets down country lanes. Before someone jumps in, you are allowed to travel to post your test results back.


Since the main Post Office in Burford is in a small shop in Burford high street, (lots of people mostly not masked), and was rammed and required queuing, we decided to give this a miss - didn't seem sensible if we are quarantining, we navigated to one of the very obscurely located post boxes in an adjacent hamlet.

The Royal Mail web site indicated this was emptied at 3:30 on a Sunday, the Priority label on the box itself that it was emptied on Saturday and Sunday, although the usual metal indicator suggested the next collection was Monday. In the circumstances we stuck our test kits in that box, and retreated home for a well earned glass of commendably cheap and delicious French wine.


I guess the moral of this sorry tale is:


a) Don't believe or plan or rely on any of the advertised turnaround times.

b) Don't bother investing in day 5 test to release. By the time you get the results it will be Day eight at least, and you can save yourself the £180 by sitting at home for an extra two days.

c) Why cannot the government defend its policy of making France Amber and the rest of Europe Green given the scientific consensus and the data seems to be that this is nonsense.



Quite why Burford should be so well catered for while the rest of the county is not is a mystery. The chumocracy at work? I couldn't possibly comment.

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A quick update on the Day 5 test

This test was undertaken at Boots Oxford at 10:50 on Friday. Its Monday 2:00pm and still no result

NB the test was taken in-store and despatched by the store to their preferred testing lab.


Following a call to Boots Covid customer service this morning at 10:00am I was promised a response in two hours, after they had checked with the lab.


Four hours later after I received two emails. The first providing a full refund.

The second indicating that the lab could not find my test.


I am glad I got the full refund promptly, and since it is now Day 9 I have only one day to go.


The testing infrastructure would seem to be creaking if my experience is typical.

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