CRC Daily: Costa Rica improves testing options for tourists

Costa Rica authorizing antigen tests for international travel.

Costa Rica is improving coronavirus testing options for tourists in light of new policies from multiple countries that require a negative result before returning.

“Due to the high number of passengers who will require COVID-19 diagnostic tests to travel to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Spain, the Tourism Board (ICT) is promoting an agreement with the Costa Rican Chamber of Health to provide efficient, secure and cost-effective access to these tests in private labs,” the ICT said in a statement.

The Costa Rican Chamber of Health has established a network of 130 clinical laboratories that can conduct RT-PCR and/or antigen coronavirus tests.

The labs guarantee PCR results within 48 hours, sufficient for travel. Antigen tests, which are not widely used in Costa Rica, can provide results within minutes.

Click here for a map of testing locations across Costa Rica!

The ICT is recommending a maximum cost of $100 USD for PCR tests in the San José area, and $150 for tests conducted outside of the San José area. (Labs can legally set their own prices.)

Antigen tests, which otherwise have not been authorized for widespread use in Costa Rica, are typically cheaper in addition to being faster.

However, not all countries accept antigen tests for travel. The United States — Costa Rica’s main tourist market — does accept both PCR and antigen tests.

The UK accepts PCR and some antigen tests, but travelers have the responsibility to ensure they “meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.”

Canada and Spain require the PCR test.

As we previously reported, Costa Rica still does not plan to require a test from incoming tourists.

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