Seychellois residents, Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP) holders and visitors to the country will be able to receive their PCR or Antigen test results in less than 24 hours from the newly opened Seychelles Medical Services.
The new health care company which offers COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test was officially opened on Monday by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde.
Located on Eden Island in the Blue Building between Bravo Restaurant and Boardwalk, the private facility is the second in Seychelles to provide exit COVID-19 PCR testing services. Euro Medical Family Clinic was the first to offer the service.
The new facility is open 24 hours, seven days a week all year round, however, anyone wishing to get tested between 8 pm and 8 am has to book an appointment.
Justin Etzin, the owner of the facility, said that he and his team "have managed to build and create a laboratory in Seychelles that is now the largest laboratory in the Indian Ocean."
"Seychelles should be proud of the fact that we now have the best testing capacity not just in Seychelles but all around the Indian Ocean and among the top in Africa as well. Our laboratory was recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) via a point check system at over 96 percent," said Etzin.
He added that the laboratory, located at La Misere at an undisclosed location for security and privacy, has all the necessary equipment, including negative pressure in every room.
"It is the only private laboratory in Seychelles that has negative pressure in every single room. This is very important to be able to get the accuracy of results correctly. The Public Health Authority does have negative pressure but not in every area," continued Etzin.
Minister Radegonde saluted Etzin for making the facility a reality and said it will be good for Seychelles in many respects.
"COVID has unfortunately been with us for a while and I read the CDC advisory today. I think that it is worrying in any respect and as the Minister of Tourism, I am concerned not so much about the advisory that they have put out because people may or may not decide to listen," he said.
Radegonde said that he is worried about the fact that some countries from where tourists originate will introduce conditionalities on their people when leaving the country for example asking them to quarantine upon their return.
"That I believe will kill the progress that we have made over the past few weeks in our tourism industry," he added.
With the capacity to produce up to 30,000 results per day, Etzin said that the facility is not only expected to support the reopening of Seychelles' tourism industry, but also to help Seychellois who wish to be tested.
"I am pleased to announce that we will be cutting the cost of testing for all Seychellois. The price we have set initially is SCR1,950 ($139) and this will be for GOP holders and Seychellois residents. Should they not require a travel certification, we will be bringing that price down further to SCR1,750 ($125). We would also like to announce that we will be offering free testing for children under the age of five and half-price testing for all children below the age of 12," said Etzin.
A standard PCR test with results and a Travel Certificate guaranteed within 24-hour via email costs SCR2,700 ($192), whereas an express service where results can be given between 8 to 10 hours, costs SCR4,000 ($286). An antigen test costs SCR1,900 ($136) or SCR2,075 ($149) for a standard or express service respectively.
"For tourists, we will be working directly with the hotels and any hotel that uses Seychelles Medical Services to have their clients tested will not have to pay for doctors to come along and test at the hotel. We do not think that it is fair or right that tourists should have to pay extra just to be tested at their hotel," outlined Etzin.
Clients can book and pay online at www.PcrTest.sc. The Seychelles Medical Services is expected to open a total of five centres on Mahe, the main island and Praslin, the second largest island by the end of this month.