Barbados launches new COVID-19 PCR testing partnership with StageZero
Photo courtesy Seaduced Luxury Charters
Barbados tourism authorities are welcoming a partnership with an American laboratory that they say will ease entry into their destination during these days of coronavirus.
The Caribbean destination requires visitors to demonstrate that they have tested negative for the illness within 72 hours of their arrival on the island, something they concede that not all would-be visitors have been able to easily do.
But tourism officials said during a Nov. 12 news conference that their partnership with U.S.-based StageZero Life Sciences greatly eases testing and getting the needed test results promptly for people in much of this country and the United States.
“That is something that will make travel significantly easier,” tourism minister Lisa Cummins said.
The test has StageZero send a swab test kit to those wanting to take the test and that person will then be visited by a health professional. Those who undergo the test then send their sample to StageZero in the same pre-labeled and prepaid container they received from the laboratory, either having a courier company pick it up from them or taking it to a courier company drop-off location.
Those who take the test will be notified by encrypted email of the result within 24 to 48 hours and can then forward that result to a website designed for Barbados government officials and bring a copy to the airport as well. Passport pictures can be uploaded to the results, enabling officials to confirm the results do belong to the traveller.
“We felt very comfortable that is a good test,” said Dr. Songee Beckley of Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Those wanting to take the StageZero test can book an appointment through stagezerolifesciences.com/barbados. Credit card payment is made online.
StageZero says Health Canada has given its approval to the testing.
StageZero’s Don Thomson said making the testing available at the homes of those wanting to visit Barbados will allay concerns of those who worried about having to visit a laboratory or wait in a long line.
The testing costs $340 a person, with the rate dropping for additional people in a household. Users will find a statement they may forward to an insurance company to be reimbursed, with Thomson saying the reimbursement procedure has been working “very well and very smoothly.”
Tourism authorities say getting the negative coronavirus test result needed to visit Barbados has been a challenge for some, who struggled to find a laboratory that could get the results back quickly enough for people to meet the 72-hour time frame.
“One of the things we’re keen on is not just travel but safe travel,” Cummins said.
Visitors from what’s designated as the medium to high-risk category for coronavirus — such as Canadians — must take a second Covid test four to five days after the date of their first accepted negative test. Typically, this will be done on the second or third day after their Barbados arrival.