• How much does a Covid test cost? Travelling during a pandemic

    There’s no denying that travel during Covid is complicated, frustrating and risky. In our July newsletter, we highlighted some points to be considered prior to booking or taking any travel.

    Things to consider before you book/travel

    Not only should you have appropriate travel insurance, but you must also know the testing requirements (inbound and outbound), understand the traffic light system and be absolutely sure of the Covid-related restrictions for each part of your journey i.e. your airline, ferry, holiday company or hotel; destination entry point; onward destinations; and indeed return travel.

    Each country has different entry and exit requirements which can change at very short notice, so it’s essential that you regularly check the relevant country’s Government website, prior to your departure and return. It may be that when you booked your ticket a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours was required, but by the time you leave, that could have changed to a negative antigen (lateral flow) test no older than 48 hours. If you’re double-vaccinated some countries may not require a negative test result but will require proof of the vaccination. Many will need either a negative test result or proof of vaccination, as well as appropriate documentation and/or specific declarations relating to your health, where you have stayed and who you may have been in contact with prior to travelling.

    Jersey falls within the UK’s CTA (Common Travel Area) but it is still important that you check both the gov.je and gov.uk websites to ensure you comply with the regulations as of the date of travel for each of the four home nations.

    Getting a test

    Since our last newsletter, more pharmacies are offering both PCR and lateral flow tests, so we have again contacted the original four private PCR test providers, as well as several other Island pharmacies. As the table below shows, prices and services vary so it’s important to shop around to get both the best price and correct test for your situation.

    We’ve been unable to get a specific breakdown of a PCR test cost but know it includes the fixed rate of the private testing laboratory (based at the airport). These pharmacies and surgery receive many calls a day from people asking for advice, taking bookings, as well as providing tests that have associated administration and staff costs.

    It’s worth asking if you’re eligible for a discount, as although one-off PCR tests will cost the price shown below, discounts are offered for repeat tests, multiple/group bookings and family discounts are being considered by some providers.

    As well as PCR and antigen lateral flow tests, some provide antibody lateral flow tests which can detect if you have previously had the virus (within a certain timeframe). Most of the companies we contacted will ensure you are given the appropriate test for your destination or circumstance, as you may not need (or be charged for) the PCR test you thought you needed and booked.

    Self-test antigen (lateral flow) kits are becoming more widely available on the Island but, similar to the free NHS kits in the UK, the results are not likely to be accepted by your destination, although some travel companies might accept the result. Home tests may include instructions on how to carry out an online supervised test. Most require the antigen test to be supervised with a result certificate being provided by the pharmacy/surgery.

    Currently, the Government of Jersey continues to support inbound travellers and returning Islanders by providing free PCR tests at the border (which is not provided in the UK). We will continue lobbying them for the reduction of outgoing Covid testing costs, possibly by a co-funding/subsidy scheme of the current providers.

    Table of tests, costs and services

    Pharmacy/SurgeryPCR TestAntigen
    Lateral Flow Test
    Antibody
    Lateral Flow Test
    7 David Place GP£140
    Results 24hrs
    £50
    Test and certificate
    £50 – Test and ‘standard’ certificate
    £75 – Test and ‘Certificate of Recovery’
    (must have had Covid and developed antibodies)
    Castle Quay Pharmacy£130
    Results 24hrs
    £30
    Test and certificate
    £30
    Test and certificate
    Health Plus Pharmacy£145
    Results 24hrs
    £45
    Test and certificate
    N/A
    LV Pharmacy£145
    Results 24hrs
    £50
    Test and certificate
    £35
    Test and certificate
    Little Grove Pharmacy£140
    Results 48hrs
    (24hrs soon)
    £30
    Test and certificate
    £7
    Single home use kit
    £50
    Test only (includes level of antibodies)
    Reid’s Pharmacy£145
    Results 24hrs
    £50
    Test and certificate
    £50
    Test and certificate
    St Martin’s Pharmacy£130
    Results 24 hrs
    £30
    Test and certificate
    £30 Test and certificate
    Lloyds PharmacyN/A£43.74
    Test and certificate
    N/A
    Cleveland PharmacyN/A£8
    Single home use kit
    N/A
    Island Medical PharmacyN/A£7.95
    Single home use kit
    N/A
    Le Quesne’s PharmacyN/A£7.95
    Single home use kit
    N/A
    Boots PharmacyN/AN/AN/A
    Co-Op PharmacyN/AN/AN/A
    Roseville PharmacyN/AN/AN/A
    St John’s PharmacyN/AN/AN/A
    Prices correct as at 16 August 2021