COVID 19 testing with same-day results – Do you need a travel certificate?

Find out more about Fit to Fly Certificates, Day 2 and 8 Testing and Test to Release.

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Life After ‘Freedom Day’: How to Stay Safe

Now that social distancing restrictions have been lifted, life is looking a little different here in England. Following the Government’s announcement, social distancing measures have been dropped and face masks are no longer a requirement (apart from on London public transport). So, with all this change, how can we continue staying safe and protecting others? In this blog post, our private GPs offer their advice; including how to get a private Covid test, keep your distance and lower the risks.

private covid test

What’s changed?

England has moved into the final stage of the roadmap out of lockdown. Almost all legal restrictions on social distancing have been removed, but the prime minister has advised that we “proceed with caution”. For example, the legal requirement for face masks inside has been removed, but the Government has said that they are still recommended indoors (such as shops and restaurants) and in crowded places.

Nightclubs have reopened and capacity limits for venues and events have been lifted. The ‘Rule of 6’ and the 1m+ distancing rule has also been dropped. The work from home guidance has stopped but people are encouraged to participate in a gradual return to the workplace.

Venues are being encouraged to use Covid ‘Passports’ or Covid status certifications, which allow people to prove they have had both doses of the Coronavirus vaccine, or have had a negative test result. People can also obtain a Covid passport if they have natural immunity after recovering from Covid-19.

Self-isolation rules are remaining in place if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace until 16th August, at which point it will be lifted for those who have had both doses of the Covid vaccine, and for those aged under 18.

Get Vaccinated

First and foremost, we strongly advise everyone (all adults over 18) to get fully vaccinated. Not only should this help protect you from getting seriously ill with Coronavirus, but it will also help to protect others, particularly those at increased risk for severe illness from the virus.

If you have not yet booked your vaccines, you can do so via the NHS website here.

private covid test

Take a Covid Test if you have Symptoms

If you develop symptoms of Coronavirus, take a lateral flow or PCR test as soon as you can. Here at Linbury Doctors, we can offer a private covid test for our members, and get the results back to you on the same day. For more information, click here to go to our Covid Testing page.

If your result comes back positive, or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, please self-isolate for the recommended period of time (10 days).

You can also carry out lateral flow testing at home on a regular basis. Around 1 in 3 people with the virus do not show any symptoms and therefore could spread the virus without knowing. Therefore, regular testing increases the chances of detecting Covid.

lateral flow test

Adhere to Travel Requirements

If you are travelling back from a country on the Red List, or are not yet fully vaccinated and travelling back from Amber Countries, you are still required to quarantine and take the required tests. You can see the full list of countries, as well as full testing details, on the Government website here.

Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer Covid travel testing packages, including Day 2 and 8 tests, and Test to Release. You can find more information about our Covid Testing here.

Face Coverings

It is advised to continue wearing face coverings in crowded areas such as on public transport, or inside shops. Although not mandatory (except for public transport in London), wearing a face-covering can help protect you and others from the virus.

private covid test

Socialising

It’s fantastic news that we are now able to see family and friends freely again; it has come as such a relief to many. To continue keeping each other safe, it is advised to meet in well-ventilated areas. It is also advised to keep the number of people you meet to a minimum. At home, you could consider keeping windows and doors open and leaving your extractor fan running (if you have one) while someone from outside of your household visits.

NHS App

The NHS App will inform you when you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. The app is free, and can help to stop the spread. You can download it here.

private covid test

Worried?

If you are worried about the lifting of restrictions and the safety of you or your family, or if you develop symptoms of the virus, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your private GP. Not a member of Linbury Doctors? You can view the benefits of signing up on our memberships page.

The Future

Although many people have been vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and transmit the virus. It’s important to remember that we are currently in the third wave of the pandemic. Although we are better equipped this time, Covid-19 will continue to be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable.

Using our personal judgement and practising these key behaviours will help to reduce the risk. Following this guidance set out by the government will help to control the spread. You can find more information about this guidance here.

Linbury Doctors’ Private Covid Test

If you are a member of the practice we can arrange for you to have a Private Covid test with a same-day result. We also offer Covid travel testing packages for members and non-members, including Fit to Fly, Day 2 and 8 testings, and Test to Release. For more information, please visit our Covid Testing page, or contact us.

Covid Travel: Day 2 and 8 Tests, Test to Release and ‘Fit to Fly’ Explained

There are no longer any restrictions on travelling from England to a different country. However, to ensure your safety and to protect public health in the UK and the vaccine rollout, you should not travel to countries or territories on the red or amber lists, outlined by the Government. Read more on the Gov website here.

If you need to travel, there are rules in place to ensure your safety. In this blog post, we’ll explain Covid travel tests and what it all means including ‘Fit to Fly’ certificates, Day 2 and 8 testing, as well as Test to Release.

Fit to Fly: What do I need to know before I book any travel?

To travel to most destinations you will need a Fit to Fly certificate to board your flight. The time scales and requirements vary depending on which country you are travelling to. 

A PCR test is performed by a UKAS accredited provider and a certificate is issued by one of our GMC registered private GPs stating when the test was performed and the result. The time the test was taken is also included as these are time sensitive. 

This is emailed to you through our secure portal password encrypted as a PDF file. 

covid travel

Covid-19 Testing for International Arrivals

From the 15th February this year by law anyone returning to the UK from abroad must take a Covid-19 PCR test on days 2 and 8 of your self -isolation period (unless specifically exempt). All arrivals must also quarantine for 10 days, either in a Government approved hotel (if returning from a red list country) or an alternative approved location (if returning from an amber list country).

If you are arriving from an Amber country then we can help provide you with day 2 and 8 tests

What does ‘day 2 and 8 testing’ mean?

At Linbury Doctors, we provide day 2 and 8 bundles for Covid tests.

After you arrive back in England, you are required to take a Covid test on day 2 of your quarantine. The day you arrive back in the country is counted as day 0. This ‘day 2 test’ is to identify any potentially harmful variants of the virus. Should a positive result come back, you and your household must quarantine for 10 days, starting on the day after the test was taken.

For those who received a negative ‘day 2 test’, they will also need to take a test on or after day 8. If this ‘day 8 test’ is positive, you and your household will need to quarantine until day 19.

Please read more about how to quarantine when you arrive in England on the Gov website here.

Why are day 2 and 8 tests done?

The tests are carried out in order to pick up any positive Covid-19 results. These positive tests are also sent for genomic sequencing, which looks for any new variants of Covid that may be coming into the country from abroad.

test to release

When do I order my swabs?

You must order your Day 2 and Day 8 tests before you return to the UK. Failure to do so may incur fines and other penalties. You can order your tests as early as is convenient for you, and we will post them to you on the required days.

When you order your test, we will ask you to provide details about yourself and your journey. You will then receive a unique reference number, which you must enter on your passenger locator form before you arrive in the UK.

When will I receive my test kits?

Your tests will be sent separately in accordance with Government guidelines. We will post them to you for the required days. Please note that, by law, we cannot send your tests to you earlier than this. You should, however, order your tests as early as possible, prior to your arrival in the UK.

What should I do when I receive my test kit?

Please read the instructions included in your test kit carefully. You should then collect your sample using the swab provided and send it to our laboratory on the same day using the postage-paid return envelope. The Royal Mail is experiencing severe pressure during the pandemic so you may wish to consider returning your sample using a courier.

day 2 and 8 test

Can I stop self-isolating if I test negative?

In accordance with the UK Government’s guidelines, even if you test negative for Covid-19 on Day 2 or Day 8, you must continue to self-isolate for the full 10 days. You can only shorten your self-isolation period if you test negative with our Test to Release. This is a separate test which you can enquire about here.

What is a test to release (TTR)?

Should you wish to end your quarantine period early, you can request a TTR test. 

Test to release is a test that can be done on day 5 to reduce your quarantine time from 10 days to 5 days. This test is optional and for those who don’t wish to reduce their quarantine time they don’t need to do this. 

Here at Linbury Doctors, we can arrange this test for you with a same-day courier to the laboratory, ensuring results are available as soon as possible. 

One of our GMC registered private doctors will then sign and issue you a PDF certificate with your results within 24 hours of completing the TTR test. 

How do I book a Covid test?

You can book any of the above tests by filling out our web enquiry form and a doctor will get back to you to discuss your requirements. A subsequent questionnaire will be emailed to you to ensure we have all the correct details for whichever certificate you may require. 

covid travel

How much do these Covid travel tests cost?

Covid travel: Day 2 and 8 package:

  • Postal kits: £210 (postal kits)
  • If a visit is required from the doctor for the tests the cost is: £310

Covid travel: Test to release and Fit to Fly certificate:

  • Postal swab for members of Linbury Doctors: £150 
  • Doctor visit and swab for members: £180 
  • Postal swab for non-members: £160
  • Doctor visit and swab for non-members: £200
  • Courier charge: POA

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about our testing by calling 0333 050 7338. See the full list of test providers here.

Private doctors in the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire

If you live in the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Worcestershire or parts of Oxfordshire our private doctors can discuss home visits to arrange doctor-led swabs if this is a preference.

If you’re looking for a Private GP in these areas, we’d love to help. With extensive experience in a range of different specialisms, we can care holistically for your whole family.

Here are just a few benefits of becoming a member:

  • Get your own dedicated private GP
  • Get GP appointments to suit your schedule
  • Home visits
  • No more time limits on appointments
  • Get next-day results
  • Fast-tracked Covid test results

Find out more about our private doctor memberships here, or give us a call on 0333 050 7338.

Why do some COVID symptoms last so long?

Here at Linbury Doctors, our private GP services cover keeping you up-to-date with the latest news. In this blog post, we look into the symptoms of Coronavirus and why they might vary from person to person. We all know by now that Covid is not your average cold or flu. In some cases, symptoms can remain for a long while after initial infection. So, why is this?

Research suggests that up to 87% of people with Coronavirus go on to experience symptoms related to the virus for more than a month after they were first infected.

For some people, their symptoms continue for months and for others, symptoms seem to come and go.

private gp services

The British Society for Immunology states that, “Every individual’s immune system is as unique as their fingerprints, and so different people can respond to a virus in different ways.” However, some people can be more susceptible to severe effects than others, including the elderly and those who suffer with underlying health problems. This is because these people may have weakened immune systems that struggle to keep the response to particular pathogens under control.

On average, the time between catching the virus and experiencing the first symptoms is from three to 14 days. These symptoms can include:

  • Persistent, dry cough
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste
  • High fever

If you, or anyone you’ve been in contact with, has experienced one or more of these symptoms, you may wish to book a COVID test. Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer private GP services; our members can receive Covid Test results back the same day. Contact us on 0333 050 7338 for more information.

The Theories

Long term symptoms of COVID (often referred to as ‘long COVID’) could be due to an inflammatory response, suggested by The British Society for Immunology’s report. As inflammation is a natural response to injuries, a Coronavirus infection could cause the body to flare-up this way, meaning it could take more time for the symptoms of the virus to lessen.

In some cases, the virus may have been cleared from most of the body, but continue to “linger in some small pockets”, according to the BBC. For example, if the virus is in the gut, there may be cases of long-term diarrhoea, whereas if the virus is in the nerves then people may experience loss of smell.

Some medical professionals believe that people suffer from long COVID due to an overactive immune response; this can also cause damage throughout the body, however this is not yet confirmed officially.

There are many theories surrounding why some people suffer from long-term COVID symptoms, however there are no definitive answers yet. The virus only emerged at the end of 2019 so therefore there’s a lack of long-term data. However, the BBC stated that “the number of people with long COVID appears to be falling with time”.

If you’re suffering from any symptoms of Coronavirus, contact us for a private COVID test and receive the results the same day. Contact us on 0333 050 7338 for more information about our private GP services.

Sources:

How does the COVID Vaccine work?

We would like to share more insight into how the COVID vaccine will work, but before that; it is important to start this blog post by saying vaccines, in general, save more lives than any other medicine and come only second to clean water when it comes to preventing disease. Vaccines have been given to billions of people and have shown to be safe. They have become so successful that we have lost sight of many fatal diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. Instead, we’re left with no disease, and all everyone sees is a side effect from the vaccine, so they often get a bad press.

Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer private COVID tests with 48-hour results. Click here to find out more information, or get in touch with us on 0333 050 7338.

How do they work?

Most vaccines work by stimulating the immune system so it thinks it has met the disease before and fought it off. A lot of the vaccines we are used to are ‘attenuated pathogens’. This means taking a virus or bacteria and making it so it doesn’t cause that infection anymore but induces an immune response. They are called ‘replicating vaccines’, and some precautions sometimes need to be exercised in the immunosuppressed.

With Influenza, for instance, we take the virus, grow it, render it non-infectious by vaccinating with parts of the virus which triggers an immune response. This means if you were to come into contact with it, your body would be able to respond by releasing the immune cells needed as it had been tricked into thinking you’ve had it before.

There are several myths around, such as ‘the flu vaccine gives you flu’. But there is no possibility of this as the ingredients are inactive. We know it’s safe and it works.

Side effects are common, such as a short-lasting fever and a sore arm. Sometimes, the vaccine doesn’t work as well as we would like but that’s about matching the seasonal strain. We believe it to be a good match for the 2020 year.

What safety checks does the COVID vaccine have to pass before it can be used?

As the different variants of the COVID vaccine are being rolled out, they will be in rigorous trials. Once the trials have passed through the relevant stages, the regulator gives approval for the vaccine.

In the UK, the regulator is the MHRA. The Pfizer vaccine was approved by the MHRA a few weeks ago and has just received emergency approval from the FDA (American regulator).

Even after the vaccine receives approvals, safety checks are still carried out and any effects are reported and reviewed.

Who decides who receives the vaccine?

The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has independent experts who decide how the vaccine programme is rolled out.

mRNA Vaccines (Pfizer/Moderna)

Both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs use technology known as mRNA, which introduces into the body a messenger sequence that contains the genetic instructions for the vaccinated person’s own cells to produce the antigens and generate an immune response.

It does not alter human cells but merely presents the body with instructions to build immunity to Coronavirus. These are new, but not completely new, as they have been used in oncology and other clinical settings.

Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer private COVID tests and can get the results back to our members on the same day. If you are currently suffering from symptoms, then get in touch with your private doctor directly, or give the practice a call on 0333 050 7338.

Concerned by the speed of the COVID-19 vaccine development?

With most vaccine development, it takes a long time to study and get the evidence as the infection pool is so small. With COVID-19, there was a huge infection pool, so we have been able to study the numbers needed in a small period of time.

The mRNA vaccines have been tested on up to 40,000 individuals, so they have been tested on the same number of individuals as any other previous vaccine in circulation. We know these vaccines are not causing severe adverse effects at this scale. Acute side effects are common, like being feverish next day or having a sore arm, but this is a strong signal that they are giving the immune system a kick and reassures you that your body is mounting a good immune response.

We know the first two vaccines prevent people from becoming unwell with COVID-19 and prevent serious illness. However, we don’t data have to see if they block transmission at present. As private doctors, we know that the risk of having serious consequences from getting COVID-19 – even if you’re not in a vulnerable category – is significantly higher than the risk of suffering mild side effects from the mRNA vaccines.

There have been some concerns raised that the mRNA vaccines may influence your chromosomes, but this is a myth; they are particularly safe as don’t penetrate the nucleus of cells. Plus, they are cleared from the system within 72 hours. There is therefore no link to mRNA vaccines and genetic modification.

The Pfizer vaccine has passed rigorous safety checks and, very recently, we received the welcomed news it has also passed emergency FDA approval so it will be rolled out in the United States.

The MHRA are continuing to monitor for side-effects, but only 2 people out of the thousands who received the vaccination in the first week developed allergic reactions.

Therefore, the advice has changed so that people with previous severe allergic reactions are unable to receive the Pfizer vaccine and the situation is being monitored.

AstraZeneca/Oxford Vaccination

The Oxford vaccine works like a traditional vaccination, more like the attenuated vaccines already discussed. It uses a harmless virus altered to look a lot more like the pandemic virus. An attenuated ‘spike protein’ of the virus is injected which the immune system builds up a response to as if the real virus has entered the body. Therefore, if you then come into contact with COVID-19, the body’s immune system will recognise this ‘spike protein’ and raise the immune response.

Source: BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55149138

Two full doses of the Oxford vaccine gave 62% protection, a half dose followed by a full dose was 90% and overall, the trial showed 70% protection.

Should I have the vaccine if I have had COVID?

Yes, is the short answer. We have no idea how long natural immunity will last, how good it will be and how durable. The current recommendation would be to have the vaccine if offered, even if you have had a proven COVID-19 infection.

If you are a member of Linbury Doctors, we can arrange for you to have a private COVID test, with a same-day result. Get in touch with your private GP to discuss, or give us a call on 0333 050 7338.

What is the rapid COVID antigen test?

The new rapid COVID test is a new test which looks for antigens for COVID-19. Antigens are portions of the virus that induce an immune response in your body. COVID antigen tests are being referred to as a ‘lateral flow test’. In the news recently the rapid tests are undergoing trials in Liverpool and some airports.

How does it work?

The COVID rapid antigen test is performed via a nasopharyngeal swab. We swab in the nostril to the back of the nasal cavity – a bit like the current COVID (PCR) swabs we currently undertake with our patients.  The swab is then mixed with a special solution and placed on a cassette and it takes just 15 minutes to show a result.

The accuracy of these results:

Sensitivity: 100%

Specificity: 96%

Accuracy 98%

The COVID rapid antigen tests have been studied in large studies in Europe, and followed up with PCR swabs ensuring their accuracy. If patients show a positive result its recommended to have a follow up with a PCR test to confirm the result. We always recommend our members to have a swab if they have symptoms. 

The data for the tests looks very reassuring. Currently several manufacturers can produce the kit, but right now they haven’t been approved by Public Health England.

What could the rapid antigen tests be used for?

  • Members and their households. Please discuss this on a case by case basis with your dedicated GP. 
  • Corporate testing

The rapid antigen tests may come in useful as a quick in-house test to help businesses begin to get back to normal. The tests will still need to be administered by a health care professional or a member of the Linbury Doctors team.

If corporate testing is sis of interest as a business need or for household testing, please contact your personal doctor. info@linburydoctors.co.uk 

What the rapid antigen cannot be used for: 

Travel: The rapid test isn’t the right test to obtain a travel certificate. If you do need a travel certificate, the PCR swab is the test you need.

Prior to hospital procedures

If you need a COVID test before you attend a hospital procedure, a PCR swab is the test you need.

Contact with positive cases and reduction of isolation times

If your rapid test has a negative result, you should still self-isolate if you’ve been asked to do so. Any advice made by Public Health England still needs to be followed.

WATCH OUT FOR….You may find some places offering these new rapid antigen tests for a low price. Always make sure any rapid tests you have are CE approved and are given by a registered healthcare professional.

CALL YOUR PERSONAL GP TO DISCUSS- We are always happy to chat to you… 

At Linbury Doctors we are now able to offer the rapid COVID antigen test. Our members can have the rapid antigen test as an addition to our same day PHE approved PCR swabs. We do still recommend that you have the PCR swab after a rapid test. We are happy to discuss this on a case by case basis. 

However we still recommend following Government guidelines. 

The COVID Vaccine.

The COVID vaccine that has been in the news over the last week is being developed by Pfizer and BioNtTech. The final phase of the trial has been completed and shows that the vaccine is 95% effective. 

The new COVID-19 vaccine that is going to give us back normality and let us live life as we once knew it is coming soon. Patients have been asking us about this COVID vaccine and if we can deliver it. 

About the vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees celsius. The logistics of how this will be stored pre-vaccination is still uncertain, but the government is currently planning how to roll this out effectively. The vaccine needs to be delivered in two doses 4-6 weeks apart. 

The medication is drawn up in a vial; unlike the influenza vaccine, which comes readily drawn up to be delivered. It needs to be checked by two healthcare professionals before being administered. The patient then needs to be observed for fifteen minutes to look out for any immediate side-effects. However, better candidates are likely to be those being developed by the US drug company, Moderna, and Astra-Zenica being developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford. 

Both are expected to be rolled out in the next few months and are also expected to be at least 90% effective but are easier to store. The Moderna vaccine is looking to be 95% effective, but the final data from the trials is not out yet. This vaccine has an easier storage solution and is likely to be available in Spring 2021 in the UK.  

When will the vaccine be available?

As these are all new vaccines, we do not yet know the full extent of any side-effects, let alone how long immunity might last, though scientists are hopeful it will be a fair few months. We do, however, know that the Government are, already, preparing for national vaccination programmes. The vaccination programme is expected to be rolled out to NHS workers, those over 85 and care home workers first.  How it is to be distributed thereafter is yet to be decided. 

We will be making assessments as to how this could be delivered safely at home. This will depend upon how easy it is to obtain the vaccine privately, any complications in respect of storage and the possible side-effects.

How we will update our members.

We aim to keep our members updated regularly with information. We are in regular talks with our colleagues in the NHS and private GPs in London about the vaccine and how it can be delivered safely and effectively. 

Drop us a line at info@linburydoctors.co.uk if you would like any more information.