13 DECEMBER 2021


© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.

Article from BTNews 13 DECEMBER 2021

More on PCR *

With money to be made pop-up PCR testers are arriving at a pace, rather like the energy companies who came to life when the Government changed the supply rules but still used the same sources for power, that is British Gas and actual electricity suppliers, adding an expensive and confusing third party.

With an upcoming trip to Doha (see Heathrow to Doha in this week’s BTN) and having viewed the Randox facility at Belfast City Airport (see Health check at Belfast City Airport in BTN 1 November) this was the route taken for the PCR test in a 72hr window before our arrival in Qatar.

Randox is a privately-owned international health and toxicology company founded in Northern Ireland in 1982.  Its last reported revenue was £218m but with the pandemic the turnover is likely to be significantly more. It is located in 145 countries employs 2,500 UK staff, and is one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland.

There are 21 Randox Health Travel Centres for Covid-19 testing in the UK, and ten in the Republic of Ireland. On 7 December it reported 54,344 tests in a 24hr period with the grand total at 21.5m since vaccinations became available.  Randox can handle 180,000 tests per day with 99.9% samples reported within 24hrs of arrival at the laboratories and over 91% reported within 12hrs.

Randox can deliver a home kit costing £34.99 for it to be returned via the many drop-boxes around the country.  The alternative is to make a web booking and go to a Travel Centre at £55 (in this case Finsbury Circus by Moorgate Station, London.  This was the procedure undertaken by the BTN’s Editor-in-Chief.  The negative result was emailed within 12hrs.

When in Qatar the test will need to be taken on arrival and prior to departure, and again when back in England.  The total cost (Qatar being much the same as the UK) is £140 per person.

The charge for most other suppliers is considerably more, even Boots charging £59.99 for a self-test and £79 in-store.  And not such a quick turnaround.  The local pop-up (Edgware) was from £100.



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All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Barry Graham, United States

There are other options available now with Randox after the recent changes. You can do a Day 2 home test (click and collect) for less than 20 pounds.

T C, Surrey

£34.99 is click and collect. Delivery is more expensive AND you have to drop the test off at a specified location which won’t always suit. However, this is still one of the cheapest and most reliable services around.