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22.78°/21.11°Overcast Clouds

2020-12-10 - 12:07:04  TOURISM | 

BTA TEAMS WITH COSTCO TO OFFER COVID-19 SCREENING


A first-of-its kind collaboration for Bermuda will provide easily accessible, gold-standard COVID-19 tests to all inbound travellers from across the United States.

Retail giant Costco is providing self-administered, observed, PCR saliva tests for both online and in-store purchase through a partnership with Azova Health. The tests—approved under Bermuda’s rigorous travel protocols, including the new five-day turnaround for results—are available online now, and in-store later this month, for $139.99, including required travel observation and bi-directional overnight shipping via UPS.

Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA), the Bermuda Government, Costco and Azova Health worked on the logistics of the plan to make pandemic-era travel safer and testing more convenient.

Bermuda is the first non-U.S. destination to partner with Costco in this way, and it represents the first-time visitors and returning residents to the island will have easy, nationwide access to pre-travel PCR screening. Costco membership is not required to access the test.

Test kits from Costco.com provide ease and accessibility for delivery directly to the traveller’s home; for Bermuda travel, they must be administered with the included virtual observation of sample collection. They can also be purchased starting later in December in 120 Costco Wholesale locations, further streamlining test-result turnaround time. The BTA helped shape the initial list of in-pharmacy locations to align with key visitor markets for the island’s tourism industry. About three-quarters of Bermuda’s visitors come from the U.S., and New York and Boston are among the first cities to offer kits.

“We believe this marks a major step forward in facilitating access to pre-travel testing required for Bermuda visitors—it will be offered across the U.S., including major markets with direct air service to the island,” said BTA Interim CEO Glenn Jones. “By making pre-arrival tests widely accessible, we hope this also encourages more returning residents to take a test before flying to reduce risk and strengthen Bermuda’s health and safety record.”

Costco Wholesale is the third-largest global retailer, with warehouse club operations in a dozen countries. The chain also operates 536 pharmacies across the U.S.

“This is fantastic news for visitors and returning residents alike, and I wish to commend all involved for working to make this happen,” said Health Minister Kim Wilson. “Ensuring timely access to pre-arrival testing such as this approved PCR saliva test under observation is a huge gain for Bermuda.”

The Costco e-commerce solution allows travellers to purchase their COVID-19 saliva PCR test and observed sample collection kit online from costco.com. Once purchased, the traveller will receive an unique code to their email in box. They will be prompted to visit AZOVA.com/costcotest to register for COVID Credentials and to complete a brief health assessment. Once the traveller’s health assessment is complete and their lab order is generated, their test kit will be shipped via UPS overnight delivery directly to their home. The traveller will be instructed to schedule their required virtual sample collection observation ahead of their travel window. Dependents can be added to a single account and samples returned to the lab via UPS overnight delivery. Digital test results are delivered within 12 to 48 hours of lab receipt and can then be shared with Bermuda’s public-health authorities via the requisite Travel Authorisation portal for all island travellers.

“We’re proud to serve as an essential part of Bermuda’s initiative to expand COVID-19 testing options for its travellers to include 120 markets around Costco warehouses and on Costco.com,” said Costco Senior Vice President of Pharmacy, Victor Curtis.

Later this month, travellers will be able to register for their COVID-19 Credentials and take their health assessment on-line from the comfort of their own home. Travellers will then be able to show proof of their lab order to their local Costco Pharmacist and purchase their test at the pharmacy. This will further offer ease, accessibility, and streamlined turnaround times for the Bermuda traveller.
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