St Helier surgery offers pre-travel Covid-19 swab tests

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Tests are available at 7 David Place at a cost of £150, and the surgery hopes to be able to help those travelling to a destination which demands arriving passengers provide evidence of a recent negative test result.

Practice manager Stephen Robinson said there had been inquiries from a range of people, including international students, those relocating abroad, business travellers and holidaymakers.

The tests are conducted in line with hygiene protocols, with swabs processed at a UK facility having been sent by courier, which brings an extra charge of £35 to £50 for each batch of swabs.

‘We are not always able to help people because of the logistics involved,’ Mr Robinson explained.

‘The UK lab needs up to 48 hours to process the test, and this can be difficult for those who are travelling early in the week because it may not be possible to get the result within the necessary time period.’

Countries requiring passengers to have been tested before they travel have differing procedures in place, which in some cases mean the test must occur within 72 hours of starting travel, or arriving at the destination.

Mr Robinson said the surgery would discuss timings with patients and consult the latest advice from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office before deciding whether it would be possible to provide a test result within the necessary time-frame.

‘The situation changes regularly, so we suggest that people contact us about ten days before they intend to travel,’ he added.

Some Islanders have expressed fears that they may have to cancel trips because testing was not available in Jersey and it was unfeasible to be tested in the UK before setting off.

Rebecca and Kevin Charles said their annual holiday to Grenada could be in jeopardy if the UK – including the Channel Islands in this instance – was upgraded to a higher risk status by Grenada.

Private antibody tests are available in Jersey for individuals through LV Pharmacy and for corporate customers via Orchid Care Services.

However, this test shows whether someone may have had Covid-19 in the past, rather than their current status, which has to be confirmed by a swab test.

Jersey’s government has recently taken delivery of a testing lab, which is expected to be operational in early September.

A spokesperson said last week there were no plans to provide pre-travel swab tests.

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