Seychelles opens largest regional Covid testing lab


The new Covid testing lab will ease travel in Seychelles for holidaymakers.


The island nation of Seychelles now has the largest Covid-19 testing laboratory in the Indian Ocean.


The private facility has been launched by a new healthcare company, Seychelles Medical Services, and will offer PCR testing services for holidaymakers as well as locals.


The centre is located on Eden Island and by the end of May, the company hopes to have opened five sampling branches on the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. All centres will open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


The laboratory is capable of processing 30,000 tests a day and can track all known genes and variants of Covid-19. Testing facilities include rapid molecular Covid-19 tests, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, rapid antigen tests and antibody tests. Test results and travel certificates can be issued by email within 24 hours and there’s also an express service that turns test results round in eight to ten hours. A further fast-track service that takes two to three hours is also available if needed.


There are also eight specialist teams available to test visitors in the privacy of their hotel room or yacht if necessary.


Justin Etzin, owner of Seychelles Medical Services, said he was “delighted” to be able to offer a dedicated testing facility for holidaymakers and locals.


“We offer travellers the only 24/7 service in Seychelles with reliable and fast Covid-19 tests for their travel needs,” he said. “This is especially important at a time when passenger traffic into the country is increasing.”


Sherin Francis, chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, welcomed the addition of a new testing facility for tourists on Mahé and other islands.


“We thank the Seychelles Medical Services and all other local clinics who are offering such a necessary and indispensable service, especially as tourist numbers are growing.”


According to Francis, tourist numbers to Seychelles look set to rise as more countries begin to exit lockdown and summer travel from Europe looks increasingly possible.


“We will be dealing with a much bigger load of requests for tests and we believe that offering travellers a wider choice of where they can take the tests is important in helping our tourism to bounce back,” she said.


Seychelles has rolled out a successful local vaccination programme with almost 70% of the nation’s population now inoculated. It's rumoured that because of this, Seychelles may soon be added to the United Kingdom’s ‘green’ travel corridor. Despite travel to green list countries having fewer restrictions, UK holidaymakers would still need to take a Covid-19 test at their destination before returning to Britain.


Further clinics offering Covid-19 related services in Seychelles include Euro Medical Family Clinic, Future Care Clinic and Victoria Health Care Services. Details can be found online.


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