Log In

Reset Password

Travellers left scrambling as Omicron surge delays Covid test results

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
Travellers wait for Covid tests at LF Wade International Airport as they watch their flight leave. (Photograph supplied)

The Government has introduced antigen testing at the airport after travellers were left scrambling to obtain last minute pre-departure Covid-19 tests after failing to receive their results.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said that a significant increase in positive Covid-19 cases – sparked by the spread of the Omicron variant – had caused longer wait times for test results.

She said: “Test results are generally available within one day, but in the midst of this outbreak results will take longer due to the increase in positive cases.

“Coupled with that, US travellers must be tested relatively close to their travel date to meet the US Government’s requirement for pre-departure tests to be completed no more than a day before travel. This leaves little room for delay.”

The spokeswoman said the Ministry of Health will continue to facilitate antigen testing at the airport for those who need it, and urged anyone who needs to take such a test to arrive at the airport at least four hours before departure time.

She said: “This will allow for an hour for the health team to administer the antigen test, receive and certify the results, and also permit passengers to attend to their regular departure procedures.”

One person who contacted The Royal Gazette said that family members had missed their flight due to the delay.

In an e-mail, they said: “It was a disgrace …. the Covid-19 tests administered by the government never arrived until tonight [Saturday].”

And another person affected said she believed the Government’s server had gone down, affecting the e-mails.

“I’m a Bermudian and was very upset about the situation and the impression it would leave on my family and many visitors that were in that situation with us.

“One person waiting also had a flight for an important hospital appointment they missed. So there were lots of situations that were quite stressful for people.”

LF Wade International Airport (File photograph)

Another source, who was dropping off a family member affected by the problem at LF Wade International Airport on Saturday, said they saw between 50 and 100 people who needed to get a last-minute test at the airport.

They said: “They had the test, but the results never came through on e-mail so they had to retest at the airport – at the last minute.

“Security wouldn’t let you go in or talk to anyone – people were trying to get through to the hotline which was useless, or trying to book tests through various facilities.”

The source added: “I think there was a total meltdown of the e-mails with the Covid-19 test results.

“A family member of mine spent an hour-and-a – half on the Covid-19 phone line trying to book a new test as they had not received the results from the government facilitated test they took.”

The source added that Wayne Furbert, the acting health minister, attended the airport and helped to coordinate the emergency testing site to assist the travellers.

They said: “He did a good job but why was there was no contingency plan or back up plan?

“This is critical stuff and there was no fail safe. It was New Year’s morning and people were highly stressed.”

The source said his family member was able to get tested and receive results back in time to fly, but said he was not sure of everyone made it to their departing flights.

“My family member managed – in the end – but they were absolutely distraught and others were distressed and didn’t know what to do.

“They were still testing people at 2.30pm. I think something went wrong in communicating the results, but it could have been a problem in the processing of the tests.

“You have a 24-hour window and flying is stressful enough, you need a flawless system where people can have confidence in the system.”

One reader said yesterday that his family were still desperately awaiting test results so his daughter could return to Canada for school.

He said: “My daughter took her test at noon on Friday and we have not heard anything back yet for her flight to school today.

“I have been on hold on the Covid-19 hotline for over an hour and started at 77th in line.

“Others have missed their flights or have resorted to private firms for antigen tests which Canada won’t accept.”

During the Ministry’s last coronavirus update, it announced the processing of more than 13,700 tests.

The Ministry spokesperson said: “This is a considerable amount of testing and the team at Molecular Diagnostics Lab is working diligently to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

“As this is the holiday period, our healthcare staff are working to meet the demand and increase in testing volume.

“We continue to ask for the public’s patience and co-operation during this time.”

* Were you affected? E-mail news@royalgazette.com

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published January 03, 2022 at 8:02 am (Updated January 03, 2022 at 8:02 am)

Travellers left scrambling as Omicron surge delays Covid test results

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon