Lynda Buitendach, National Projects Manager for AMPATH told ASATA that AMPATH is in the process of setting up a specific ‘Travellers Resource Page’ on its website, details of which will be shared with ASATA Members in due course.
“This will contain what travellers need to do to have their COVID-19 test performed, the special travellers’ self-referral COVID-19 test request form, a contact tracing form and our Lab SANAS accreditation certificate,” said Lynda.
Travellers can register via their smartphones or via the AMPATH website for the AMPATH Patient Results App that will allow them to receive their results immediately along with verification.
This assists by improving the turnaround time for travellers to receive their results and allows access to these results at any time in the future should they require a history of COVID-19 testing from an accredited laboratory.
AMPATH has also advised that as per the latest media release from the Department of Health, they have recommended that arriving travellers without a valid, negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result should undergo a SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test at the port of entry.
The NHLS will perform these tests at the ports of entry. Travellers will have to pay for these tests themselves, at a cost of about R170. Should an incoming traveller be symptomatic, then quarantine and a COVID-19 PCR test are recommended.
Ampath further advised that although a media statement has been released about the implementation of the SARS-CoV-2 Rapid antigen test, these tests are not yet available in South Africa and the logistics are not yet in place for the NHLS to roll this out. Private laboratories are not yet offering these rapid antigen tests as we are in the process of validating these tests in order to determine their performance w.r.t. sensitivity.
Therefore Lynda advised that until further notification from the DOH and authorities, Ampath advises travellers to continue obtaining a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory at least 72 hours prior to departure to ensure problem-free travel out of South Africa.
It is important to note that regulations have not yet been finalised and change constantly.