PCR testing in Seychelles, not an inconvenience after all |10 June 2021
Seychelles, one of the earliest island destinations to reopen its borders, has risen to the demand for facilities to conduct the mandatory exit PCR tests and laboratories to analyse the samples, eliminating thus some of the inconveniences associated with the procedure.
A new requirement since the Covid-19 pandemic started in 2020, the PCR test has become part of every traveller’s essentials. The negative test report is not only a prerequisite for entry for many countries but is now also part of airline protocol for boarding to exit the country.
Tired of confinement, lockdowns and isolation, visitors are flocking once again to the islands for their dream holiday. Until February of this year, the bulk of the PCR-testing services in Seychelles were provided by the local public health providers, with visitors as well as residents travelling overseas and those contacts of positive Covid-19 cases required to present themselves at various testing stations set up in the various districts and islands for the purpose.
With the increase in demand and the requirement for fast turnaround in the analysis of test results, several private health clinics have ventured into providing testing and laboratory services, and the destination now even boasts the largest laboratory in the region, capable of analysing more than 30,000 tests at a time.
Visitors have the privilege of going to private facilities offering faster services, ranging from the Rapid Molecular Covid-19 Test, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test, through to the Rapid Antigen Test and Antibody Test are on offer to cater for the needs of the client.
Taking matters one step further to ensure the least disruption to their guests’ holidays, some local accommodation operators are now partnering with some private service providers to have the test samples taken on site within their establishments for ultimate convenience and privacy.
Around 20 hotels, across the destination, including Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, are working in close collaboration with private clinics to provide their guests with the luxury of securing a private on-site visit. Ensuring visitors can enjoy their last days in paradise without the inconvenience of leaving the poolside or of rushing around on the last hours for their swab samples to be taken.
General manager of Hotel L’Archipel on Praslin, Lucas D’Offay, is a hotelier who has chosen the option of providing the on-site service for guests staying at his establishment.
“We have decided to partner with a private service provider and offer PCR Testing to our guests at the hotel as we see it as being both more convenient and relaxing.
“We have a confirmed time slot from the clinic (13h00–14h00), where they send their nurses to do the PCR testing on our in-house guests. Our guests benefit by not having to queue up at the Baie Ste Anne Hospital, save on taxi transfers, and they are sure to get their test results in less than 24 hours. For us, it is much simpler to organise and to plan their bookings at the hotel. It is also an added value to the services being offered at Hotel L'Archipel, thus allowing our guests to spend more time enjoying their holiday.”
Gregory Giscart, from Belgium, a repeat guest of Hotel L’Archipel, shared that despite the additional cost, “the PCR test was perfect and very professional; the results arrive very fast. The fact that it is done at the hotel is a plus for the guests, although it is 3 times more expensive than in Europe and it is true that this is a supplementary cost for those who do not necessarily have a lot of money. Despite this, all went very well and as always our holiday was wonderful”.
Based on the main island of Mahé, private health providers, flying in and out daily, are also setting up testing stations on Praslin and La Digue, where other visitors, primarily those staying in small hotels, guesthouses and self-catering apartments may visit, by prior appointment, without having to cut short their island-hopping holiday.
Test results can be received as fast as within 24 hours of taking the test for some suppliers, while clients can also be given results within 8-10 hours or even in 2-3 hours if needed.
Press release from the Seychelles Tourism Board