Bermuda is ready to handle increased PCR testing for guests

Bermuda is ready to handle increased PCR testing for guests

TORONTO — Bermuda is well equipped to accommodate visitors in need of COVID-19 testing, including those from Canada, the United States and the U.K., all of which offer direct air service to the island.

The island’s Ministry of Health confirmed today, Jan. 25, that its testing system provides easy access to PCR COVID-19 tests, including results within the 72-hour turnaround time required by Canadian and American officials.

Since Jan. 7, anyone five years and older arriving in Canada must have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure and must show the results to their airline before boarding their flight. Starting tomorrow, the U.S. will implement a similar rule that requires a negative a viral COVID-19 test, which includes an antigen or PCR test, from anyone arriving by air.

The Bermuda Government Molecular Diagnostic Lab (MDL), where test samples are processed, is expecting a 20-25% increase in testing volume as a result of these new pre-arrival protocols. MDL technicians have confirmed that they can handle the additional demand with the required 72-hour turnaround time because their current performance standard is results in less than 24 hours. The lab operates seven days a week, which covers all traveller contingencies.

“This is excellent news for Bermuda tourism,” said Glenn Jones, Interim CEO at the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “The Government of Bermuda’s stellar pandemic management and rapid response to a constantly shifting landscape are putting Bermuda at the top of travellers’ consideration lists. And post-travel to Bermuda, visitors tell us they felt safe from the pandemic while here.”

Bermuda reopened its tourism industry in July 2020 with all incoming travellers being tested upon arrival by air or sea. They are automatically booked to be tested again on days 4, 8 and 14; results are typically returned within 24 hours. Bermuda is in the top 10 globally for testing per capita.

Most Bermuda visitors returning to Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. will have their outbound testing requirements met within the existing testing regime. As of today, Jan. 25, anyone in need of an outbound test not covered by this regime is automatically booked for a return home test. Bermuda pivoted its existing automated system to consider the traveller’s departure date supplied on the way in, matched with the 72-hour requirement for test results on the way out.

Outbound test results contain the following information: name, birth date, gender, date of test, type of test and test credentials, lab name and address. This will satisfy the entry requirements in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

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