An internationally qualified leading Analyst spoke about the importance of accurate Fit to Fly certification using RT-PCR Tests. The world health organization encourages PCR testing for border security as a critical component to halt the spread of COVID- 19. However if this testing is not done correctly the result is catastrophic.
Some of the small private clinics in Seychelles like Euro Medical, Dr Chetty, Lifeline and Dr Jivan have all purchased a single PCR machine and are offering a PCR testing service to their patients. Testing their patients is incredibly important and whilst the results may not be totally accurate or suitable for international travel it is an important tool to help stop the spread of Covid 19 in Seychelles.
The concern however comes when these small private clinics offer to test large numbers of tourists with their single PCR machine. Raffles hotel in Praslin takes PCR samples from guests themselves and ships them to Mahe be tested. The risk however is when Ia hotel try’s to test their guests as cheaply as possible to increase profit they put their guests safety and travel at risk. By choosing a small private clinic who has not had to undergo the major investment to set up a lab and attempts to issue fit to fly certificates using one single PCR machine risks are obviously inherent. It is impossible for a single PCR machine to test hundreds of samples without the clinic taking short cuts or omitting testing all together.
If the same small private clinic is also testing all of its patients and at the same time is receiving hundreds of testing samples from other large hotels like Club Med in St Anne or Ephelia in Mahe as well as many other hotels all over Seychelles experts would ask how can this be done on one single PCR machine. The answer is it’s absolutely impossible.
It simply is not ethical for any clinic to submit a fit to fly certificate when a test has not been done correctly or in some cases not performed at all. For the test to be done correctly the clinic needs a laboratory and to be able to run verification checks against other PCR machines. This simply cannot be done with one PCR machine.
Hotels who subject Travelers to use the small clinics with one PCR machine risk either the guests not receiving their test certificates or receiving a certificate that is rejected on arrival at their destinations border security for being non compliant or inaccurate.
It is international practice and was required by the Seychelles Ministry of Health for Labs when Seychelles Medical was awarded its license to have a separate entry and exit point and use negative pressure in their laboratory or risk cross contamination providing inaccurate results. However the small private clinics in Seychelles have not had this requirement and instead attempt to carry out testing in a small room at their clinic with one single PCR machine. The result is again a catastrophe for Seychelles waiting to happen.