Pre-Departure PCR Nightmare

I'm supposed to be travelling to Cyprus tomorrow to see my mum for the first time in almost 2 years and normally the day before a flight I am excitedly packing snacks for the plane, sandals and sun cream. But thanks to the complicated steps required to travel nowadays instead of trying to cull my shoe packing I am endlessly refreshing my emails and trying desperately to think of a plan B in case our fragile house of cards collapses.

red and blue British passports

DH and myself are fine - we are double vaccinated so all we need to go to Cyprus is our Cyprus Flight Pass which didn't take too long to do. I had to give details of flights and accommodation and upload our vaccine certificates from the NHS app. (Download to your device first then upload to the Cypriot form from there.) Then obviously there are 2 tests each and the British passenger locator form to fill in to return to the UK.

But our autistic youngest is 13 so too old to be exempt from testing and too young for vaccination. If he had been Cypriot - no problem but as it stands he requires no less than 5 tests before, during and after our stay.

We can't leave him at home - his mental health is fragile and it's not fair to expect my adult children to have that responsibility. His siblings will be going to school and college as normal but he will be doing his schoolwork remotely. This at least is one of the positives to come out of the pandemic, this ability to work anywhere with an internet connection.

So we booked the pre-departure PCR test as far away from the flight time as legally possible (it must be within 72 hours) which was Sunday. We've been practicing and rewarding him for tolerating the tests which previously had caused him (and us) enormous distress. He sailed through his drive through test and I didn't think there would be an issue.

But the result was:


This was 3pm yesterday. I was waiting in the car park waiting to pick our lad up from school. I stared at the result hoping somehow I had read it wrong. I hadn't. I quickly booked another test for 4pm and we drove the 30 minutes to the test centre where a different tester was very thorough. Bless him he endured it silently with tears running down his pale cheeks.

Now we play the waiting game. If this test is inconclusive we have no plan B. If only we could use Lateral Flow Tests which are so much quicker. This has been an expensive and stressful experience and I can't believe after months of waiting with fingers crossed we might fall at the very last hurdle.