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Life in Quarantine in the UK

Quarantine in the UK for 5-days and how we made it bearable.

sunny 85 °F
View Europe Summer 2021 on Miss Chris's travel map.


When we planned this trip, the UK had announced that they would open to everyone on July 10th. Consequently, we purchased tickets for theater, Highclere Castle and the Globe for dates after that. After we left the US and were well underway in our travels, the UK announced that they would not open up until July 19th. Anyone arriving before July 19th would need to quarantine for 10 days.

We had lots of discussions on what to do, our options: 1. Go to the UK and take our chances that things would change, 2. Go to another location from Paris and wait for July 19th, 3. Go home.

We decided quickly that we didn’t want to go home so we started thinking about where we might want to go for 10-days and how we’d spend the 5-days in London. I played with different options. The south of France was going to be too warm, the Alps and Dolomites were calling with nice weather, Croatia sounded different, Budapest was a place that looked good.

Just before we had to decide, the UK government decided to offer a “Test to Release” scheme. In this scheme the one had to get a Covid 19 test and test negative on day 5 of the quarantine. If the person tested negative then the quarantine would be over. This test was in addition to mandatory Covid 19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of the quarantine. We opted in to the “Test to Release”.

We got ourselves a 2-bedroom, 2-story flat with a small area in the rear in Greenwich. We found that there was a coffee shop about 5 min walk away and 3 grocery stores close to the coffee shop.
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Within the confines of quarantine, we had an option to test ourselves or go to a facility for the test. I found that we could opt to go to NHS (National Health Services) approved facilities for our 2-day and 8-day mandatory tests and the 5-day “Test to Release”. I decided that we’d go to a facility: 1. I was not interested in self-testing and 2. It would get us out of the flat.

When one is in quarantine, the NHS calls by phone once a day to each adult. The call can be anytime and I was told sometime later, that a person missed 2 calls so an NHS person went to check that they were actually at the place of quarantine. We were quite lucky that we did not miss a call, but we were careful to stay at the flat until we received our call. The calls immediately stopped after we tested negative on day 5.

On Day 1 I went to the local grocery stores under the pretext that I wanted to see what was available gluten free. There are too many food items that I cannot eat so it makes food delivery difficult. We were not going to have restaurant food delivered for the 5 days so, we would need to run to the grocery store.

We did go get coffee every day at the little coffee shop, went grocery shopping and went for our testing. To get to our testing we had to ride a bus, then transfer to the tube, then walk for about 15 min. This was a way to get out for a bit.
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We found that the quarantine was not so bad, it was a breather, a time to take a bit of a break before starting to run around again. We read, watched the BBC, and of course walked to the store/coffee shop, went in the garden, did stair steppers, cooked, stuff everyone does in a day.
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On day 5, we had our test early then moved to the Holiday Inn ready to run as soon as we had our test results. And run we did!

Posted by Miss Chris 01:09 Archived in England Tagged london travel uk quarantine international_travel

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