Managing COVID restrictions for EA Global travel: My plans + request for other examples

post by Andre (Andre_Barbe) · 2021-10-02T03:14:40.854Z · EA · GW · 17 comments

Contents

  Summary
  My Plan
  Other useful references
  Your Comments
None
17 comments

Summary

If you are attending EA Global 2021, you have to worry about international travel rules for COVID testing. I am not in any way affiliated with EA Global or any government, but did some research for myself that I wanted to share, in case it is useful for others. This is what I plan to do but I make no warranty of the accuracy of this: do your due diligence. If you accept that caveat, please read below.

My Plan

I’m a US citizen coming from the US and have been double vaccinated. So that means I have to do 4 things:

  1. About 2 weeks before leaving for London, purchase a day 2 COVID test online. I’ve decided to go with Randox and have it delivered to my UK hotel before I arrive. It is 43 GBP with coupon code “BritishAirways”. When I pay, I will get a reference code to prove I have booked a test.
  2. 2 days before my flight takes off, fill out the UK’s passenger locator form at this link. I will have to include the reference code from #1.
  3. Within 2 days of arriving in the UK, take that test I had mailed to my hotel.
  4. Within 3 days of departing the UK to return to the US, take another COVID test. This is required by the US CDC according to this link, and both PCR and Rapid Antigen tests are acceptable. I'm getting a Rapid Antigen test from Boots for 50 GBP. This page has a list of Boots pharmacy locations with COVID tests. The nearest one to the Brewery is at London Liverpool Street Station 11 Octagon Arcade, London EC2M 2AB, United Kingdom (Boots Link), (Maps Link). You can book a test with Boots here. I am planning to walk into an NHS location near the EA conference venue (like this) and get a free test. You don’t have to be a UK citizen to get free tests from the NHS (link).

I believe that’s everything. I don’t have to take any tests before leaving the US, do any sort of quarantine, or anything like that. 

Other useful references

  1. UK Government page on entering the UK, with a summary of rules: Link.
  2. Official UK government list of “day 2” test providers. Unfortunately, I found it very inaccurate on both locations and prices.
  3. US CDC government page on returning to the US: Link.
  4. US DOT page on returning to the US: Link.
  5. Summary of UK-US travel requirements by a travel website: Link.

Your Comments

If you’ve made your own plans, especially if you’re traveling from somewhere other than the US, post about them in the comments!

And of course, let me know if you see any errors in my plan. I hope this helps!

Changelog: Updated 2021-10-04 with helpful comments from DavidBernard [EA · GW].

17 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by David Rhys Bernard (DavidBernard) · 2021-10-02T16:59:37.237Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Within 3 days of departing the UK to return to the US, take another COVID test. This is required by the US CDC according to this link, and both PCR and Rapid Antigen tests are acceptable. I am planning to walk into an NHS location near the EA conference venue (like this) and get a free test. You don’t have to be a UK citizen to get free tests from the NHS (link).

My understanding is that you should not be using the free NHS test for travel and should instead book a private test, which is possible across London and at airports on the day of your flight. See the travelling abroad section of this NHS page. More practically, I think you only get a text message confirming your result from the NHS tests and this is not sufficient documentation for the CDC requirements.

What information must be included on the test result? A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy). The documentation must include:

1 . Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test) 2. Entity issuing the result (e.g. laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service) 3. Specimen collection date. A negative test result must show the specimen was collected within the 3 days before the flight. A positive test result for documentation of recovery from COVID-19 must show the specimen was collected within the 3 months before the flight. 4. Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number) 5. Test Result

comment by Robi Rahman (robirahman) · 2021-10-19T21:08:53.610Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the writeup! I'm following this process but going to the UK a few days earlier, so I'll try this out and provide results before you leave.

I ordered a 2-day covid test and received a booking reference number. My flight arrives in London on Friday, so tomorrow morning I will fill out the passenger locator form.

Edit, 2021-10-20: Submitted all my info to the UK gov website and got a passenger locator form. I'll update tomorrow when boarding the plane.

2021-10-21: will be departing from the US for the UK on Thursday evening.

2021-10-22: will be arriving in London on Friday morning.

Replies from: robirahman
comment by Robi Rahman (robirahman) · 2021-10-20T14:30:52.979Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Additional suggestion: don't just have a photo of your vaccine card on your phone; physically bring it or scan and print a copy.

comment by Charles He · 2021-10-02T19:35:00.640Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I wanted to say that this post is a really thoughtful and high-quality contribution.

The precise details helps save time and increases comfort with tedious but important details in travel in 2021, which many of us won't be familiar with.

I was fortunate to get off the wait-list, so I think I am going to this event and that is very exciting.

I did a little research and it seems to check out to me (some details, maybe origin-country specific, like DavidBernard mentioned, are good to update on).

Thanks again!

comment by sbowman · 2021-10-20T14:37:28.200Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Related question: EAG now requires you to have a lateral flow test result within 48h of the start of the event.  Am I correct in understanding that lateral flow tests in the UK are often DIY kits, where  you don't get any formal documentation of the results? If so, does anyone know what kind of documentation/evidence the EAG staff will be looking for?

Replies from: AmyLabenz
comment by Amy Labenz (AmyLabenz) · 2021-10-21T16:11:16.537Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi sbowman, thanks for asking! 

We are following the honor system for testing, and will not be requiring proof of the test results. When you arrive, we will ask you to confirm that you have taken one in the last 48 hours and that the result was negative. 

As for the tests themselves, a DIY kit would work. We describe some details in our COVID protocol

  • The conference venue cannot facilitate onsite testing so please take a test before you arrive and stay at your accommodation if you have a positive result. 
  • UK residents can order free test kits online or collect them from a local UK pharmacy. (From 4 October, you’ll need a collect code to pick up test kits from a pharmacy.) 
  • Attendees arriving from abroad can order a Day 2 test kit in advance and have it delivered to their hotel address.
  • Attendees who cannot afford a test, or are unable to order one in advance, can collect a test from the EA Global team at the following times:
    • Thursday 28 October, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
      The Grubstreet Author, Milton Street, London, EC2Y 9BH
    • Friday 29 October, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
      The Brewery, 52 Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 4SD

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to hello@eaglobal.org with any other questions! 

comment by alene · 2021-10-20T02:28:27.756Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

You're my hero.

comment by aaronhamlin · 2021-10-27T04:37:17.920Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Useful for: Anyone who is required to show COVID Day 2 testing verification for their flight to the UK from the US (or other "non-red" countries).

Getting my ticket through British Airways automatically sent me through a confirmation process for a "Health Passenger Locator Form." Part of this requirement is for booking a COVID test prior to arrival in London (but actually done in London). The form actually doesn't let you proceed until 48 hours prior to your arrival in London, so this information may be helpful for those approaching that window.

There is a walk-in testing site right by Heathrow Airport. You can do that right after you land to get it out of the way. They have the DAY 2 LATERAL FLOW TEST. Here is where you can book it: https://ldn.randox.com/

You'll get a reference number after you pay, which you'll be required to add to a form later. As long as you sent it to a reliable email, you can reference it with no problem. As far as I know, this is all you need if you're staying in London for fewer than 10 days.

You can take transit right there after you land. I added a bit of a buffer, but Google Maps says you can get there from Arrivals within 15 minutes. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Heathrow+Airport,+Longford+TW6,+United+Kingdom/Radisson+Blu+Edwardian+Heathrow+Hotel+%26+Conference+Centre,+London,+140+Bath+Rd,+Harlington,+Hayes+UB3+5AW,+United+Kingdom/@51.4724018,-0.4627096,14.38z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x48767234cdc56de9:0x8fe7535543f64167!2m2!1d-0.4542955!2d51.4700223!1m5!1m1!1s0x48767248b4db8263:0x13eaaf45e2a032b0!2m2!1d-0.4410154!2d51.4814337!3e3

I hope this helps! I apologize if I've made any errors because this was a bit confusing. If I have, we'll suffer together. :)

comment by Anjay F · 2021-10-15T20:12:16.797Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Based on this Choose-a-Provider page, there seem to be a few cheaper day 2 tests (less than £10). This one costs £1.99 but is in Park Royal, which is an hour away by public transport in , or this one is in Battersea, London and is 45 minutes away by public transport. It seems like they get booked up fast though and have less support than the Randox one.

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2021-10-15T22:28:06.544Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Just so you know, basically these £10 tests  are not real prices, and part of a bait and switch. See:

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58300897

Basically, the government made a website but management/governance is hard, so the website has been gamed and spammed, to the degree that everything is noise.

As another datapoint, there's no way these prices are economical.

BBC press coverage seems to have improved things but it's not really resolved.

Replies from: Stefan_Schubert, Anjay F
comment by Stefan_Schubert · 2021-10-15T22:36:53.919Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes, this is my impression as well, based on recently having booked a day 2 test.

Also, one may want to check the reliability of the providers via rating sites (one cheap one I looked at had a terrible rating).

However, one should also note that the rules are about to change:


From 24 October fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18s arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a cheaper lateral flow test, on or before day 2 of their arrival into the UK. These can be booked from 22 October.

comment by Anjay F · 2021-10-16T03:49:13.643Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

That's  helpful. Thanks! 

comment by sbowman · 2021-10-13T21:52:01.498Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This is great!

  • Why the Randox test in particular?
  • Does it seem viable to use the Day 2 test as the US return test? (I'll only be there Thursday to Monday, so a test on Saturday satisfies both requirements, if there's no other catch.)
Replies from: Andre_Barbe, Charles He
comment by Andre (Andre_Barbe) · 2021-10-16T21:36:10.960Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
  1. I used Randox because of social proof and price. Randox was listed by British Airways on this website was the cheapest on that website.
  2. I don't recommend using Day 2 tests for the return trip. Day 2 tests have to be mailed back to the lab. So it takes some days to get results. For the return flight, you need results back before you fly. So I would worry that I might not get results back in time for my flight.
comment by Charles He · 2021-10-14T20:36:20.038Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't know if this is right but this is what I did:

  • I ordered 2x Randox Day 2 tests. I'm staying 6 days and I will try to use one test as my Day 2 and the other as the pre test to return to Canada. My guess is that the "Official Date" of the test is determined by online registration, so I can use the tests this way and take it at the required dates. 
  • It seems like I can speak to others/authorities during my trip, so a mistake on the preflight return test is not too costly.
  • I choose Randox because of this post, because I saw it positively mentioned on some random Reddit post, and because the site looks legit, with detailed information (e.g. 1-2 pages with "common mistakes" and instructions). 
comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) · 2021-10-16T19:22:16.499Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The Randox coupon code "BritishAirways" is invalid for me.  If anyone finds another coupon code that does work, it would be helpful to share.

None of the ones on this page worked 

Replies from: Andre_Barbe
comment by Andre (Andre_Barbe) · 2021-10-23T03:35:40.737Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The code worked for me. 🤷‍♂️