Does a work trip to Poland mean that I have to self-isolate for 90 days? | Consumer affairs



I have to go to Poland for work in two weeks. The new travel rules mean that I will have to take a Covid PCR test on the second day of my return. However, the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) website states that PCR tests cannot be performed within 90 days of testing positive for Covid. I had the virus a month ago. I can’t find any indication of what to do.
RD, Hastings, East Sussex

You are raising an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of people, and DHSC’s guidelines for international arrivals are silent on the issue. Test and Trace does not recommend having a PCR, or lateral flow test, within 90 days of a diagnosis of Covid, as residual inactive viral fragments can give a positive result for up to three months after the risk of infection has ceased.

It wasn’t until Wednesday that the UK Health Security Agency, which replaced Public Health England in October, shed light on the issue, but only towards the end of advice for those who have come in contact with someone who tested positive. He says that although the 90-day advice generally applies to people recently with Covid, they must take a PCR test when they return to the UK from abroad. Since the new rules require travelers to self-quarantine until they test negative, that could mean three months of self-isolation.

The NHS Covid pass app records natural immunity, which is expected to last for up to 180 days after infection. While this should be acceptable in places such as nursing homes, which usually require a negative test result, it does not carry any weight for newcomers to the UK. Your trip could leave you stuck at home until next year, so if possible, I would cancel it.

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