More testing options for Bermuda-bound travellers from US
Travellers coming to Bermuda from New York will be able to take a pre-travel Covid-19 saliva test from the start of next year.
The oral swab is an alternative to nasal swab testing, and will be provided by OpenClear, a testing service based in Manhattan.
The company worked with the Bermuda Tourism Authority to provide the tests and meet Ministry of Health pre-travel turnaround time requirements.
A BTA spokeswoman said: “In-person PCR saliva testing will be available from January 5, providing an alternative to the existing PCR nasal swab tests.
“The in-person, by-appointment testing will continue every Tuesday, 9am to 3pm.”
The BTA earlier teamed up with US pharmacy chain Costco to provide saliva test kits that can now be bought from 120 stores across the US and online.
The spokeswoman added: “The in-store option at Costco is expected to further shorten turnaround times, because shipping schedules are susceptible to delays as a result of holiday demand or weather.
“Priority given to the movement of Covid-19 vaccines is also creating a bottleneck on deliveries.”
In-store customers at Costco are required to complete a health assessment online and register an order. They can then choose one of the shops to buy the test kit.
Once customers have their kit, travellers to Bermuda must book an appointment for online video observation.
The BTA spokeswoman explained: “This process is to verify the identity of the person taking the test.
“The observation appointments can be booked far in advance, but should not take place until, at most, five days before travel.”
She added: “After the sample is collected, it should be placed in the prepaid mail packaging provided and dropped off at a UPS store for overnight delivery, or left for a UPS driver to collect. Drop boxes are not permitted.
“When the lab receives the sample, a result is returned via e-mail in 12 to 48 hours.
“Negative results should be uploaded to Bermuda’s Travel Authorisation system for pre-travel approval.”