When the virus first hit worldwide status, various countries closed their borders and went into lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. When the lockdown eased, countries reopened their airports and started welcoming visitors again, although with strict rules and laws. These days, countries make a negative COVID-19 test result mandatory before any visitor is allowed into their country. Some other airports in countries carry out their own test on visitors and place them on 14 days quarantine period before they are released into the country.
If you are set to travel anytime soon, you may be wondering where to get a coronavirus test for travel. This guide will put you through on the type of test you need to take, where you can get the test, the cost and how long it can take before you get your results. While some testing centres will require cash payment, others may be covered through insurance.
What type of coronavirus test do you need?
There are different types of testing one can get for coronavirus; however, you would need a coronavirus test result with details if you are travelling. When getting a coronavirus test for travel, do not get an antibody test or a rapid antigen test. An antigen test will check for the presence of protein on the virus surface. In contrast, an antibody blood test will check for the presence of antibodies that are produced if you have been previously infected with the virus.
The type of coronavirus test you need for travel is a PCR test. Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) test is the most reliable test that detects active COVID-19 infection and is the most reliable coronavirus test for travel. There are sites and testing centres that provide accurate , and also bear in mind that some countries only accept PCR test results from specific testing sites.
Coronavirus testing options
It is quite possible to live in an area with limited COVID-19 testing sites. Finding a testing site would require going online to search for testing sites near you, or you can get a home testing kit and conduct the test yourself, after which you send the samples to a laboratory for analysis.
With regards to cost, some testing centres often offer no additional charges for PCR testing if you have insurance. Also, people who fall under some federal programs can get PCR tested at no cost at all. To be sure if you qualify for these tests, you will have to complete an online questionnaire, and if you do qualify, book your appointment 1 – 3 days in advance. Instead of queueing up at the testing centre, you can make your appointment online and use the drive-by testing offered by most of the testing centres. The drive-by testing allows you to swab yourself so you won’t have to leave your vehicle.
Mail-in COVID-19 testing options
There are a lot of mail-in COVID-19 test providers, some of which are not valid or available in some areas. Although they are all reliable PCR tests, some of them are nasal swabs, and some others are saliva tests. Not all these tests are valid for adults, and some even require a zoom appointment. Fortunately, most of these mail-in tests will not bill you any insurance. Some of these mail-in tests have partnered with several airlines as approved testing providers. This means if your airline is a partner, it will be so much easier to get a coronavirus test for travel.
How long will it take before the results are ready?
For some countries, they require visitors to have a negative COVID-19 test result of not later than 72 hours. Some even require a shorter time window of the test result. This 72-hour testing should include the from the time of testing to the time of departure or arrival. Specifically, in some countries, there is a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test result that was swabbed within 48 hours of arrival into the country, in order to avoid quarantine. This translates to a same-day result.
Although PCR tests usually take 72 hours for the results to be released, some urgent care facilities introduce rapid PCR tests. These rapid tests provide results in as little as 30 minutes and is a great idea for people who want a quick PCR test result. Sadly, it will generally cost more than normal PCR tests.
Another issue that affects the time of the release of results is the laboratory where you get tested. Due to the increase in demand with regards to holidays approaching, delays are inevitable. So while 72 hours is typical for release of results, delays can cause results to take up to 2 or 3 days. For better options, you might have to research testing sites that provide rapid PCR tests, or same-day results.
Testing for COVID-19 in airports
There are a number of airports that provide COVID-19 testing to either all passengers or those going to specific destinations at specific times. You can decide to go to the airport a day or two ahead of your trip and get tested. Besides saving you time, it can also save you a lot of stress. As much as possible, avoid waiting to get tested just before your trip, as this can present problems with regards to time. Testing before your trip will save you the time you will have to spend in quarantine when you get to your destination.
Avoid faking a COVID-19 test
As holidays are approaching, there is an increase in pressure to get tested before you leave. This can lead to the urge to bypass requirements as well. There have been reports of black markets that provide negative COVID-19 test result for those wishing to travel.
Besides that fact that a fake COVID-19 test result violates the intentions of preventing the spread of the virus, a fake negative COVID-19 test result can get you in serious trouble with the law. It could land you in jail, with the promise of up to 5 years.
Expect long queues at testing centres
Even with the lockdown still in effect in some areas as well as rules being implemented against travelling for the holidays, it is clear that certain individuals and families still plan to make a trip sooner or later. There are long lines in various testing centres, showing that people hope to travel soon. If you are part of those, prepare your mind for long lines at testing centres for both testing and results.
Earlier on, it was much easier to get a coronavirus test for travel. However, with the holidays approaching, more people are eager to get a coronavirus test for travel despite the increase in cases across the country. If you require a testing site where you can get a coronavirus test for travel, contact us at Travel Clinic London. We are one of the most reliable PCR test clinics in London. Contact us today for a coronavirus test.