Four-Hour Covid Test Still Waiting for Takeoff at Ben Gurion

A technician collects nasal swab samples for COVID-19 at the coronavirus lab in Ben-Gurion. (Flash90)

Israelis who need to travel abroad during the ongoing plague can avail themselves of either a 14-hour (44.8 shekels) or a 4-hour (134.64 shekels) Covid-19 test. Or at least that’s what they thought.

But on Monday, The Jerusalem Post found out that the slow version is available, but the fast one isn’t.

The “Check2Fly” coronavirus testing lab at Ben Gurion Airport was up and running in Terminal 3 as of mid-November.

But has only been able to administer the 14-hour test because the testing company Omega and Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus have been stuck getting tested by the Health Ministry.

Approval for use has been stalled due to Ministry requests for trials and data, followed by more Ministry requests for trials and more data. Omega and Rambam have complied with the requests and are still waiting for authorization to use the test. That was two and a half weeks ago.

Those who need to fly urgently do have other options.

Local HMOs can provide coronavirus test before traveling abroad. But not all the local health funds, which offer free testing, can provide a certificate of negative results in English.

The required testing and documentation is available privately, for as much as several hundred shekels.

All returnees to Israel are required to take a test on arrival and then again while in isolation if they want to reduce their isolation period from 14 to 10 days. To encourage screening, tests at the airport for people who come back into Israel are now free.

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