Boots has revealed that it will be offering a new 12-minute Covid-19 test within weeks. The antigen test will cost £120 and will deliver results faster than any other test currently available. Some tests can take several days to deliver a result.
This is great news for anyone wanting a snapshot of their Covid-19 status.
However, the pharmaceutical company acknowledges that the 12-minute test won’t be accepted by most countries that require proof that visitors don’t have the virus. They require a laboratory-analysed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Boots hope this will change.
“This test is not currently approved as a pre-flight testing service, which requires a PCR test and for results to be processed via a registered lab.”
The company says that the service will be aimed at those who have no symptoms of the virus but want some peace of mind.
Italy accepts both antigen and PCR tests while entry to Cyprus, Hong Kong, the Maldives, some Caribbean islands including Antigua and Barbados, and the UAE including Dubai will require a negative PCR test certificate.
Nana Asmeni Pavlou, tourism officer for the Larnaca Tourism Board in Cyprus said:
“Passengers from Category B countries (including the UK) have to conduct a test confirming negative PCR for Covid-19 issued from a certified laboratory.”
Boots does offer a PCR test too which delivers results within 48 hours. It is already available in 10 stores in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Boots has plans to extend the programme to more than 50 outlets across the UK.
Both its antigen test and its PCR test cost £120, which is cheaper than many private companies, some of which charge as much as £200 for in-clinic tests and £180 for a mail-order service. Boots said the price could drop, depending on demand.
The 48-hour test has 99 per cent accuracy and the 12-minute test about 97 per cent, says Boots
Ted Wake, Director at Kirker Holidays, said:
“We are delighted that Boots has launched a Covid-testing service for customers, which is one of the first to be widely available to the public – it will certainly help to encourage customers who wish to travel to Italy and other destinations which require clients to present a negative test certificate on arrival.
“I have no doubt that many more pharmacy businesses in the UK will offer Covid-testing in the near future as this process becomes part of the new normal. In the meantime, our own experience of clients who have been travelling to Italy over the last two weeks is that they welcome the opportunity to take a test, and find it reassuring to know that all others travelling with them have had to undertake the same test.