Business travel is slowly returning, but the pandemic has completely changed the requirements for everyone travelling abroad. David Ferreira, Commercial Director of Cignpost ExpressTest, the UK’s largest COVID-19 test provider for consumers, explains how business travellers can find certainty in an uncertain world.
COVID-19 testing is one of a new range of travel essentials that businesses must navigate so that their people can travel conveniently and safely.
As we have recently seen with Portugal, the requirements that are in place today could change overnight. For business travellers we talk to, they are clear that they need testing companies that can be flexible in case they have to make rapid changes to bookings. They also need a guarantee that their test results will be delivered on time to minimise the disruption that would be caused by late or inconclusive results.
Cignpost ExpressTest has responded by investing heavily in a network of on-site testing centres across the UK.
Part of the Cignpost Diagnostics group that provides COVID-19 testing to a huge range of companies of every size, ExpressTest has the advantage of a proven infrastructure and use of our own laboratories. That is what helps us to deliver results fast and at an affordable cost.
We launched our first two airport testing facilities at Edinburgh and Gatwick in November 2020, and Heathrow recently selected Cignpost ExpressTest as its main testing partner, providing on-site walk-in and drive-through testing facilities in terminals across the airport.
In support of our airport locations is a network of 17 regional test centres that puts 80% of the UK population within 60 minutes of a Cignpost ExpressTest site. We continue to expand our footprint of test centres to make accessing reliable testing services as convenient as possible for all travellers.
FLEXIBLITY FOR TRAFFIC LIGHT CHANGES
The Government’s traffic-light system categorises countries as green, amber and red destinations, with different testing and isolation requirements for travellers coming from each.
A strict 10-day quarantine requirement puts red destinations out of reach for most business travellers, but countries with low levels of COVID-19 and high rates of vaccination are likely to move between the green and amber lists as the Government reacts to new data.
With 70% of respondents to a recent YouGov poll saying they still believe that face-to-face meetings strengthen business relationships, it is our view that business travel will return. But it can only succeed if companies are given the flexibility and confidence they desperately need to navigate changing requirements, while making testing as easy to access as possible.
CONFIDENCE FOR GREEN ARRIVALS
Our Day 2 Green Arrivals PCR test, which has to be completed on or before the second day of a traveller’s arrival in England, can be pre-booked and completed on arrival at Heathrow or Gatwick, or any of our regional test centres.
With results provided within 24 hours, workers can be cleared of any COVID-19 risk and back in the office almost immediately after a business trip to a green destination.
FLEXIBILITY FOR AMBER RETURNS
Colleagues coming back from a country on the amber list are required to complete Amber Arrivals PCR tests on or before day 2 and on day 8 of their return, as well as isolating at home for 10 days.
Taking a test on arrival at Heathrow or Gatwick, or by heading to their nearest regional test centre, gives business travellers peace of mind that they won’t be putting family members at risk from COVID transmission.
The ability to complete the day 8 follow up test at a regional centre close to home will ensure a prompt confirmation of a negative test so they can make a confident return to the office.
Those who want to cut their home isolation in half can take a Test to Release on day 5 of their return to the UK. This extra test is again available with results processed within 24 hours, giving those who produce a negative result the quickest route back to the office.
SUPPORT FOR LAST-MINUTE CHANGES
As we saw with the sudden change to Portugal’s classification from green to amber, business travellers should not assume that a country will remain on the same list over the weeks and months ahead.
Cignpost ExpressTest’s response to that last minute change was to put our customers’ needs first. We allowed all travellers to cancel their day 2 tests free of charge, and to book a new day 2 and day 8 test instead.
Our customer support team was available between 6am and 10pm every day to provide reassurance to travellers and prioritise urgent requests.
In an uncertain world, we recognise that business travellers need confidence when travelling abroad or returning home. Cignpost ExpressTest’s network of in-person airport and regional testing centres provides fast and accurate COVID-19 testing solutions with flexible, reliable service, putting Britain’s workers in control of their travel plans.
Find out more about our testing services at ExpressTest.co.uk.