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Advice on meeting 72-hour Covid PCR test for flights leaving Portugal

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(@nickj1)
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I wonder if any folks can help with a bit of advice regarding the PCR test that's a requirement to travel to certain destinations.  I need to fly out of Portugal at the end of this month and need a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.  It sounds straightforward, but it's proving to be difficult, as I'm down in the Algarve, but the flight is most likely to be from Lisbon and the test result takes a bit of time to wait for.

I contacted Hospital Particular Grupo HPA Saúde in Portimao and had a really bad experience, as the staff were completely out of touch with my needs, making some strange claims (1) I need a prescription to obtain the test from the hospital, or even if I go to a local clinic, (2) I need to give a vehicle registration plate because the hospital's test is a drive-in test (NB: I'm just a traveller here and don't have a car).

The experience has made me realise that I'll get nowhere with Hospital Particular Grupo HPA Saúde, so I'm back where I started really.  I note that others on the forum have posted the same question, with a similar level of anxiety about the requirement, but I haven't seen any of them follow it up with information about how they ultimately achieved it, for the benefit of others.  Can you help anyone?

Incidentally I note also that a Synlab Covid testing centre is now set up at Lisbon airport, but it appears to be only a rapid-antigen test, not suitable for all destinations.

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(@anavieira)
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Posts: 11
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(@nickj1)
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Joined: 1 month ago

That's very helpful Ana, thank you.  It's interesting what you say about the PCR test being 90€ without a prescription.  I had been lead to believe from Grupo HPA Saúde in Portimao that a prescription was needed anyway (and the requirement to have a car).  The cost incidentally was 150€

I have just found that KLM flies from Faro.  Do you think it would be more sensible for me to obtain a PCR test in Portimao, then fly from Faro with KLM, than to attempt to travel to Lisbon?

 

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(@anavieira)
Joined: 9 months ago

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Posts: 141

@nickj1

i would look first to the places that can guarantee a date to schedule and the result on time for you to fly.

I do not know what clinics/ labs are available there, in the Algarve region.

There are also drive in tests  available in some places.

I found this for Algarve:

 

 

 

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(@nickj1)
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Thanks Ana, yes I saw from looking at the Joaquim Chaves Saúde website that you linked to, that not many of their locations perform the necessary PCR test.  Germano de Sousa's website doesn't appear to make a distinction between PCR and rapid-antigen test.

The one that you've just found at Portimao Arena is the same one suggested by the Grupo HPA Saúde -- she said it was a drive-in only.

I should reiterate, I'm here in Portugal as a foreigner - no car, no doctor, no health number - only a visitor.

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(@anavieira)
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@nickj1

There has to be a solution!

I found this info on the website visitportugal.com

As a foreigner, what to do if I need health care?
According to Portuguese law, all foreign citizens have access to the National Health Service. However, there are specific procedures for access, considering the country of origin, whether it is a European Union country or a country that has a bilateral agreement with Portugal. To learn more, click on "About Portugal / Useful Information" (in the menu at the top of this page) and choose the "Health" option or consult the Portuguese National Health Service.

As a visitor to Portugal, where can I easily test for Covid 19?
If you are a visitor to Portugal you can receive the test for Covid-19 (RT-PCR) shortly after arrival, before departure or at any time, in one of the hospitals and clinics included in the Portugal Health Passport, all of which provide you personalized support in your language. The results for the tests may be obtained in 72 hours or less. More information is available at test.covid19@portugalhealthpassport.com.

Is there any travel insurance that covers expenses related to Covid-19?
Portugal has developed a travel insurance for visitors residing abroad - Portugal Travel Insurance - which covers, among other aspects, medical, surgical, pharmaceutical and hospital expenses related to Covid-19, as well as cancellation, interruption expenses or extension of the trip also for reasons of Covid-19. For more information contact portugaltravelinsurance@bonus-seguros.pt / www.portugaltravelinsurance.com

website:

 

 

 

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(@nickj1)
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Thank you @anavieira and apologies for not responding sooner to last night's message.  Incidentally, Germano de Sousa's Portimão clinic has offered a testing slot at €100 and aims to deliver the results by e-mail within 24-hours.  The price is not so bad, but perhaps a little higher than I had expected.  I'll keep updating the forum with further information on this, as I think there's generally an absence of concise information.  For instance I see that Faro airport provides a testing station, but it doesn't appear to be clear what type of test is available.

Yes, it's an interesting bit of information about foreigners' health care, although where it states "...foreign citizens have access to the National Health Service", I think it probably requires an NIF, a residence certificate etc., unless I'm mistaken.  I must admit I have found some of the rules too extensive to absorb and to properly understand.

I found out recently that Covid vaccinations will not be made available to short-term visiting foreigners in Portugal, unless they are resident and have been registered with the health service, even if they are willing to pay.  In other words there's no way for temporary visitors to obtain the vaccine irrespective of a willingness to pay.  I could be wrong, but this is the way I understand it.  This contrasts especially with countries that offer medical tourism, providing a complete range of services privately to foreign visitors.  It seems a pity because vaccinating everyone regardless of status is clearly in the public interest at the moment.

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(@nickj1)
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I just wanted to add to this, @anavieira, that the Portugal Health Passport appears to be an arrangement between three hospitals.  The website lists three hospital groups participating...

Lusíadas  -- CUF  --  Hospital da Luz

 

Benefits are a fixed cost for certain services.  The visitor needs only to enter an e-mail address, which provides a message containing a code, which can then be printed and taken to the hospital.  I noticed that the website for Portugal Health Passport is privately registered, rather than an official site.

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(@anavieira)
Joined: 9 months ago

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Posts: 141

@nickj1

Thanks for all your updates!
Its always useful to know that.

Good luck 🙂

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