Update: Pre-departure COVID-19 Testing

Several countries now require pre-departure travel testing for COVID-19. Depending upon the destination country’s rules, passengers may need to complete one COVID PCR test (swab) +/- one COVID antibody test (blood) within 48 to 72 hours of boarding their flight or arrival at their destination, and be able to provide negative results.

Time-frame for Testing and Results
In order for results to be available, pre-departure testing must be ordered 48 hours or more before the result is required. Please note that if samples are received the day prior to travel, results are unlikely to be available in time for travel. In addition, turnaround time for test results may be longer during times of increased demand for testing, as our primary focus is processing PCR samples for public health purposes; while the laboratory will endeavour to return a result pre-travel, it cannot be guaranteed.

COVID-19 PCR and antibody pre-departure testing is only available in the Dunedin laboratory. Therefore, requests from other regions must be collected as early as possible to allow transport to Dunedin for testing. While COVID-19 PCR testing capability exists in some smaller laboratories, supply of consumables for this test is globally very constrained, and therefore is only available for urgent clinical or public health purposes, NOT for last minute pre-departure testing.

SCL cannot provide or arrange urgent courier pickups for pre-departure samples. Turnaround time for results can be improved if samples are sent directly to the laboratory (e.g. delivered by taxi or the passenger themselves).
We recommend that clients have their pre-departure testing performed in Dunedin to ensure results are available in time to meet travel requirements.
Please note: the laboratory is currently unable to provide the results directly to the patient. It is the referrer’s responsibility to provide the result to the patient – please consider how this might occur over weekends.

Patients MUST pay the practice directly for all associated costs of sample collection and analysis of all tests requested.
SCL will invoice medical centres for testing as per the standard invoicing process.

  • Novel Coronavirus PCR: $138
  • Covid antibody: $96.25
  • SCL bleed fee (serology testing only): $14
  • Note: All prices are GST inclusive

Laboratory Forms
Manual Request Forms: Clinical details must be provided such as “Pre-departure COVID-19 Test” and include departure date. Please state “PAID” on the request form.
eOrder: If using eOrders, select “COVID PCR swab and COVID IgM serology”, in the funding category select “Patient to pay”. Clinical details must be provided such as “Pre-departure COVID-19 Test” and include departure date.

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