A new study commissioned by a coalition of aviation industry stakeholders has revealed that a single on-arrival antigen test is as effective as a ten-day self-isolation period in reducing imported cases of COVID-19. 

Oxera and Edge Health found that a single rapid antigen test would be appropriate for arrivals from the majority of countries categorised as medium risk. Such countries could be designated as ‘amber’ if the UK Government applies a traffic light system for foreign travel to categorise risk.

The new findings demonstrate how the government’s evidence base has underestimated the effectiveness of a single antigen test, which SAGE previously reported would screen only 11% of infectious travellers.

Additionally, a two-test strategy could be a viable option to safely reopen international travel this summer to and from higher-risk, or “red”, countries. This would involve an antigen test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, and three days quarantine upon arrival with a PCR test requirement.

Crucially, this would also ensure the government is able to track and sequence each strain of Covid-19 entering the UK.

The report has been submitted to the UK government’s Global Travel Taskforce 

ahead of its 12th April report on how international travel can be restarted safely and effectively.

(Photo Credit: Medakit)