How do I get a Covid test in Saudi?

This is a good question, and much like the rest of the world, everyone wants to know where, who, how long for results, etc. Coming back to Saudi can be difficult if you are not sure the testing places in your country can give you the needed negative results in 72 hours and you have a flight scheduled. You will need a negative test to come here. Such a predicament.

If you choose to fly to Bahrain or Dubai, you may need a visa first. Bahrain has the Covid test system down pat. I told the airport testers, “You guys have got it going on.”, meaning so much more streamlined than a lot of places. Once you enter the airport from your arriving plane, you will be directed right to a kiosk area where you pay for your own Covid test. 40 BD at this writing. Then you fill out some forms about where you are staying, etc. and you will be put in line for a test. There are many testing desks and not crowded at all. Everyone with mask, sanitizer, gown, etc. They do the nasal test and results are back in 8 to 12 hours, up to 24 hours. So that means you can test at night and have your results back by morning!! Amazing!! They track you with an app that you must register on before you leave the airport.

So, if you are staying at a hotel, they will know you must be in the room until your test comes back negative. They also monitor your results, because if positive you will need to quarantine there. They advise getting room service to deliver dinner, breakfast, etc. as you won’t be allowed around the premise. We did just that…ordered our dinner in and slept until morning. The results were negative so we could go out and enjoy the beach, pool, whatever the hotel had to offer.

One note: If you plan to stay some time in Bahrain as tourist, then you will need to retest in 10 days.

Once to the Saudi side, within 72 hours from negative test, because that is what Saudi requires, you need to quarantine 3 days and then do a test again. Here it is sooo easy. First you schedule your test online with an app, then you wait until your day and go to a drive-thru site where you can just sit in your car. Here they do a throat swab. Results should be about 24 hours. If you don’t want to take the test here, you will need to quarantine for 7 days. So streamlined! Everyone knows what to do. By the way, not sure if Saudi is issuing a visa on arrival as they did before.

I feel the rest of the world in some way can learn from the Middle East in the ease of testing and the systems they have in place. I hope they can have similar systems in Europe and America, where things seem to be difficult to do. Folks are frustrated and are just praying for the vaccine.

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