Where to get a fast Covid-19 test for international travel

Here's which local testing facilities offer quick turnaround times

16 October 2020 - 00:00 By Elizabeth Sleith and Sanet Oberholzer
Most international commercial airlines will require you to produce a negative Covid-19 test in order to board your flight.
Most international commercial airlines will require you to produce a negative Covid-19 test in order to board your flight.
Image: 123RF/Valeriy Bochkarev

Heading overseas and need to have a Covid-19 test done quickly?

Strictly speaking, our government regulations don't require SA residents to produce a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to leave the country.

That said, some international commercial airlines are requiring that passengers produce a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test that has been conducted within 72 hours (sometimes 96 hours) of departure.

The same may be required when arriving at any transit airport/country.

Covid-19 tests cost R850. Here's where to get one done fast:

PathCare

PathCare is offering tests specifically for travel purposes at any of its 67 testing facilities nationwide. The turnaround time is 48 hours and results will either be sent via e-mail or a hard copy can be collected from your nearest branch.

Travellers will need to present their ID and provide their passport number and passport expiry date, which will be captured on the report. Find a full list of nationwide testing facilities and contact details here.

Lancet

Lancet is offering Covid-19 tests that are accepted for travel purposes without a doctor’s referral. The turnaround time is 24-48 hours and results will be sent via SMS or e-mailed to you upon your request.

You will need to present your ID and pay for the test upfront. Find a full list of dedicated testing sites in each province, their contact details and operating hours here.

Ampath

You can do a Covid-19 test for travel purposes without a doctor’s referral but will need one if you plan on claiming back from your medical aid.

Results will be available within 24 hours. After doing the test you will be sent a link to register for Patient Results on the Ampath website where you will be able to access your results. Alternatively, you can request your results to be e-mailed to you.

You will be required to present either an ID or passport for identification purposes. Find a list of dedicated testing sites in each province, their contact details and operating hours here. 

NextPath

Only in Gauteng, NextPath requires a doctor’s referral for Covid-19 tests but can provide an on-site referral for an additional R200. They offer same-day results. Results are sent via SMS and a report is e-mailed to you.

You will need to present your ID or passport number. Drive-through or walk-through tests can be conducted at either their Midrand testing centre (open Mon-Fri) or at their Sandton testing centre (open every day of the week, including public holidays). No bookings are required. For more information, visit their website.