Half-way into my trip, the rules for foreign travel changed, and on that Sunday I found myself having to book a PCR test for Day 2 instead of the LFT I'd already received. It then took until Thursday, the day after returning home, for the company to post my PCR, and I received it the following afternoon by DHL. I took the test straightaway, and my parents took it to the priority postbox as required. Fortunately the last collection of the day was 17:00, and that was over two hours away - if DHL had been slower in delivering I could have missed that window! That was a concern, but as long as it got to them safely it didn't really matter. Since returning home I'd been running laps of the grass in order to keep my run streak going, but the laps were so repetitive I couldn't do them for that many miles, and so my running sufferred during isolation.
I'd hoped that I'd have a result on the same day they received it, which should have been Saturday due to it being a 24 hour postage, but I heard nothing, so accepted that it'd be Sunday or Monday. Sunday evening I found that the PCR testing company had an online portal for tracking the result - it was in one of the emails they'd sent me. So I logged in, and was shocked that it appeared they had not yet received it. This would mean the earliest they'd receive it for testing now would be Monday, and considering how quickly they're supposed to receive the test kits after using them, my concern was that the test would be void.
Monday came and went, and I emailed to ask if they'd received it, but got no reply either. I started to grow concerned that this company was a black hole that £35 had disappeared into with no result, or that Royal Mail had lost the test, and I wondered what if this delay meant the test was no longer viable? Would I need to take another? This concern had me starting to think of contingencies should I not get a result by the end of Tuesday - I felt that was the latest I could wait, and still get a result in time for my race on Sunday. I thought about spending another £68 to get a PCR from Boots, but a colleague recommended Randox who also do theirs for £35 and had been good for them. Maybe it was worth a try. If I'd had a positive PCR test on the day of my arrival, I'd have been free by the weekend, but this new system wouldn't take that into account. It had to be self-isolation until a negative PCR test was received, no matter how long it took to get it.
I woke up Tuesday morning to find they HAD received it Monday, but had not updated the portal with this. One way or another I'd know in the next 24-72 hours whether I'd need another PCR. I'm not sure how many times I refreshed the page during the course of Tuesday, and in the back of my mind I was already thinking about how a void result may impact the weekend. It was what I was expecting.
Towards the end of Tuesday I received my result. Negative.
I was finally free from isolation, and would have a few days to prepare for the half marathon in Milton Keynes at the weekend. In this time, the entry rules for Cyprus had changed again.
Entry requirements for vaccinated travellers
Travellers aged 12 and above must take a PCR test on arrival at the airport in Cyprus. The cost of the test (€15) is borne by the passenger. You must self-isolate in your accommodation until the result is available. You will also need to obtain a Cyprus flight pass.
Whilst taking a test would not be a problem, I had my doubts about how practical self-isolation in a hotel would be. How many days on average would the result take? They would be extra days to pay for accomodation and food, potentially without being able to do anything. There also wouldn't be any doubt about my run streak being over too. Would a hotel accept someone being in self-isolation? If they did, then one possibility would be to use Wolt for food deliveries, again, if the hotel would be happy for me to collect them from the lobby each day until receiving a negative result. It certainly complicated things. Enough for me to question whether the return for the Limassol Half would happen…