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Published on Monday, October 26, 2020

Boots to offer pre-flight Covid test

High-street chemist Boots is rolling out a Covid-19 test for people planning on travelling abroad.

The private pre-flight Covid testing service will be available in over 50 stores in the next few weeks.

The service is already available in 10 stores, which are located in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow for customers travelling to UAE, with plans to roll out a wider service to over 50 stores across the UK over the next few weeks.

Depending on demand and feedback, the launch may extend to 200 stores over the coming months.

The service is available as a private pre-flight testing service for customers who require a test before travelling abroad, with results coming back within 48 hours.

Over the next few weeks, Boots will also be rolling out new LumiraDx devices to selected stores, which will be able to process swab test Covid-19 results in 12 minutes.

However, the test is not currently approved as a pre-flight testing service, which requires a PCR test and for results to be processed via a registered lab.

The nasal swab test will initially cost £120, although Boots said the cost may come down if there is a lot of demand, and is being rolled out to selected stores over the next few weeks.

In trials on 500 patients, the test showed 97% accuracy.

Despite the hefty price tag, Boots Chief Executive Sebastian James said: 'We believe we are the cheapest private test. We think it is pretty good value compared to others on the high street, which range from £270 at the very expensive end to about £150 in online clinics.

"I'm hoping lots of people will want to do it and if they do, then we can make the price more accessible.

'We don't want to make a profit out of it. We are just covering our costs as there is a big upfront outlay for all the kit."

To obtain a Covid-19 test, patients can simply fill out a registration form and follow the instructions to book an appointment through the Boots online portal, available through

Once in store, a testing-trained member of Boots expert team will facilitate the swab test, package the swab and send it to a laboratory to be tested, with results usually available within 48 hours.

By Lisa James, Deputy Editor (UK)


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  • Not a lot of use if Countries require max 48 hour prior tests

    The Balearics & Seychelles require tests taken no later than 48 hours prior. There is still no lab that can guarantee a PCR result within 24 hours in order to comply with the remaining entry documentation which take another day prior to departure.

    By BARRY KEATING, Monday, October 26, 2020

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