- Passengers will receive results in approximately one hour, allowing them to fulfil entrance requirements in certain countries that require the test.
- Laboratorios Echandi will be in charge of operating the service.
Beginning on May 14, the Juan Santamaría International Airport, under the administration of AERIS Costa Rica, will offer a rapid testing laboratory to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.
The service is part of the airport operator’s efforts to ensure a safe travel experience and help passengers to comply with entry requirements to certain global destinations. The service also seeks to offer greater peace of mind while travelling, with results available in a very short timeframe.
“This laboratory service, which offers rapid COVID-19 testing, places us at the forefront of global air terminals,” said Rafael Mencía, Executive Director of AERIS. “As a company that seeks to facilitate travel, our priority is to preserve travelers’ health and minimize the possibility of infection, with a view to ensuring the well-being of passengers travelling to and from the country. With the backing of our parent company, Grupo CCR, we at AERIS Holding Costa Rica are constantly studying the best practices to improve the travel experience and acting in an agile manner to follow the public health requirements and meet the needs of the ongoing pandemic.”
The service will be operated jointly with experts from Laboratorios Echandi, who will perform the testing through a partnership with Morpho Travel Retail.
“This launch is a step towards the country’s economic reactivation, offering the opportunity to launch a vital service in Costa Rica’s main airport that follows the highest quality standards,” noted Federico Echandi, General Manager of Laboratorios Echandi. “Domestic and international travelers will now be able to take the COVID-19 test in a rapid, simple and safe manner without having to go to an external laboratory. It will be just one more step in the usual travel process.”
Echandi went on to note that international passengers will have the option of receiving the service in English, and all travelers can reserve their appointment using the website https://covid.morphotr.com/
What does the test consist of, and what should passengers know beforehand?
The diagnostic testing laboratory is situated in a space with an area of over 400 m², located 600 m northwest of the airport on the highway to San Antonio del Tejar. This allows the samples to be properly analyzed while also separating the flow of passengers and avoiding congestion in the airport’s main facilities.
A 24-hour service provides passengers with transportation that complies with the requirements of Law 7600. A parking area is also offered for passengers using rental vehicles or arriving with family members.
The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) hailed the announcement, highlighting the importance of passengers being able to rely on this service in the country’s main airport. “This effort by the Juan Santamaría International Airport to offer COVID-19 testing will improve the experience of tourists traveling through the airport,” said Gustavo Segura, Minister of Tourism. “These kinds of facilities, which are hard to find in Latin America, are an additional factor in favor of the destination under the current circumstances.”
About the testing. The maximum period required to take a sample and provide the result is one hour. Passengers are therefore recommended to schedule their appointment at the laboratory four hours before their flight is set to depart. Travelers must present their reservation with the airline as well as their passport.
The antigen test has a cost of $65 (plus sales tax) and the result will be delivered electronically or in a physical letter.
Other noteworthy characteristics of the service include:
- The facility includes a queueing area, a room for those waiting for results had an isolation area for those who test positive.
- Customer service staff are bilingual (Spanish and English).
- Staff will be on hand to keep things running in an orderly fashion.
- A security team will be in charge of taking care of equipment and materials.
- Cleaning and disinfection teams will be in place to comply with the applicable standards.
- The service will be available 24/7.
- Appointments can be reserved using a QR code reader.
The rapid antigen test is currently recognized for entry to the United States and is a requirement in the Netherlands, with direct flights leaving from Juan Santamaría International Airport to both countries.
The Costa Rican Chamber of Healthcare, meanwhile, noted the importance of public-private partnerships as a mechanism to ensure greater and higher-quality access to healthcare for the country’s population. “This new service is part of a network of over 100 laboratories throughout the country that have been carrying out PCR and antigen tests for months in an inter-institutional effort to ensure safe, effective and reasonably priced access to COVID-19 testing for international passengers and domestic travelers,” said Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Healthcare.
The laboratory facilities comply with all applicable regulations and have been approved by the Ministry of Health and the Association of Microbiologists of Costa Rica. The facilities also follow the protocols in place at the Juan Santamaría International Airport regarding handwashing, physical distancing, occupancy limits and obligatory mask usage.