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Scottish Government Pre-Departure Rapid Lateral Flow Test FAQs

Do I need to test for Covid-19 prior to travel?  

Customers who plan to travel to Scotland's islands are encouraged by the Scottish Government to take a lateral flow test three days before travel and on the day of departure.   

We have outlined some answers to your most frequently asked questions below and full details are available at the gov.scot  website, which also includes information on how to order / access testing kits.  

  • This is a voluntary process.

It's part of the Scottish Government national approach on universal lateral flow testing. It aims to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to reduce the risk of coronavirus being brought into island communities by those who are unaware they are infectious.  

  • The invitation to take a lateral flow test prior to departure (three days before travel and on the day of departure) is extended to all passengers from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, travelling to the Scottish islands from 26 April 2021.      

  • You are not required to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to travel with CalMac.

  • In line with Scottish Government public health guidance, anyone who has tested positive, or has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, must not travel.  You'll find more support on this scenario in the FAQs below.

  • If your test result is negative, you must continue to follow our safer travel rules - including practising physical distancing and wearing a face covering, which is mandatory, unless you are exempt.  

For more details on this national programme and information on how to access testing kits, please visit the gov.scot  website.   

I am planning to take a lateral flow test prior to travel. When should I take a test?  

You should take this rapid lateral flow self-test three days prior to travel and on the day of departure. Full details and advice are available from the gov.scot  website.  

I am planning to take a lateral flow test prior to travel. Where can I obtain a testing kit?  

You can order a testing kit from the gov.scot  website. (Select 'yes' when the site asks if you were asked to get tested by a local authority or by an NHS Public Health team). 

I have undertaken a voluntary COVID19 test prior to travel and have tested positive. Can I travel?   

No. If your test result is positive, you must not travel. You must follow Scottish Government guidance and public health advice, which you can find at gov.scot   

If you or anyone in your household tests positive, everyone in the household must follow their national guidance. In Scotland you should self-isolate immediately.  Book a PCR test to confirm the result. (A PCR test is a different type of coronavirus test and is regularly used for those with symptoms).  

Any other individuals from your household must not travel on our ferries.  

If you need to cancel your reservation, please complete our online refund form. We have put in place a temporary change to our policy and if you need to cancel your booking, we will waive the administration fee. 

If the result of your test is neither positive nor negative and void, you should take another test.   

I have undertaken a voluntary COVID19 test prior to travel and the result is not clear. Can I travel?  

If the result of your test is neither positive nor negative and void, you should take another test. Advice is available at gov.scot  or in your testing kit.  

If the result of your next test is negative, you can travel. If it is positive, you must not travel and follow Scottish Government guidance and public health advice, which you can find at gov.scot  

Is there an age limit for the invitation to take a lateral flow test prior to travel?  

Only those aged 18 and above can order tests online. Adolescents aged 12-17 can self-test with adult supervision and children under 12 years of age should be tested by an adult. Full details are available at gov.scot and within the testing packs.  

I recently tested positive with a PCR test, should I test before visiting a Scottish island? 

People who have tested positive by PCR in the last 90 days should not participate in this programme. You can find more details at gov.scot  

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