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Doctors and dentists to be drafted in to speed up test regime for overseas travel

A rapid antigen Covid-19 test (File photograph)

Travellers en route to the US will be able to get coronavirus tests at doctors’ and dental surgeries, it was revealed today.

The Bermuda Health Council said options for people to obtain fit-to-fly certificates would be expanded after an “unprecedented burden” on the island’s services.

A memo to health service providers and laboratories said: “The Omicron variant has prompted a number of changes in travel requirements across the globe, with Bermuda impacted specifically by those changes made in the United States.

“While the island’s testing apparatus and public health response has been the most robust in island history, it cannot be denied that our resources continue to be in very high demand.

“This demand has placed an unprecedented burden on the island’s Covid-19 testing infrastructure.

“There is a need to increase capacity and ensure testing reaches those who need it most.”

The memo added: “In response, effective January 17, 2022, registered health service providers have been granted the ability to provide Covid-19 rapid antigen testing, and issue the corresponding fit-to-fly certificates for individuals travelling to the United States.”

Ricky Brathwaite, the health council chief executive officer, said that doctors, pharmacists and dentists were expected to sign up for the programme.

He added: “However, while we anticipate those, the protocol does allow for any registered health professionals, so we are not limiting it to just those named practices.

“We believe this is an opportunity to cut out the bottlenecks for fit-to-fly certification, thus aiming to become one of the quickest and most efficient countries when it comes to document preparation for travel.”

The BHeC memo highlighted a list of conditions to make sure that "public safety is always at the forefront“.

Health service providers must have a partnership agreement with a registered laboratory and the antigen tests used must be on the health council’s approved lists and valid for the US.

The Bermuda Health Council will continue to update the list of all health service providers that are eligible to provide fit-to-fly certificates.

Passengers, with the exception of infants aged under two, are required to provide proof of a clear PCR or antigen test taken no more than a day before travel before they board a flight to the US.

Outbound antigen testing was introduced temporarily at the airport earlier this month after travellers were unable to get their PCR results in time to fly.

A test site was later set up at the Washington Mall.

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Published January 18, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated January 18, 2022 at 8:12 am)

Doctors and dentists to be drafted in to speed up test regime for overseas travel

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