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Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews


ISSN (Print): 1573-398X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6387


COVID-19 Tests and International Travel: How Long Will You Test Positive for SAR-CoV-2?

Author(s): Kam Lun Hon* and Karen Ka Yan Leung

Volume 19, Issue 1, 2023

Published on: 13 October, 2022

Page: [2 - 5] Pages: 4

DOI: 10.2174/1573398X18666220920120531


Coronavirus diseases, from SARS to MERS and now COVID-19, have major implications for the aviation industry and international travels. Although many cities and countries are adopting ‘live with COVID’ strategies, various rules and regulations are still in place. Documents demonstrating COVID-19 vaccination or recovery from the disease have now become a basic requirement to enter many travel destinations, while some still require pre-entry and/or post-arrival testing of COVID-19. Recently, the author’s household became COVID-19 positive in late March 2022, as diagnosed by rapid antigen test (RAT), in Singapore whilst enroute to Hong Kong. This had an immediate knock-on impact on hotel quarantine and travel arrangements. Rapid antigen test (RAT) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) based tests have been used for quarantine, isolation and international travel purposes. The implications and issues of these tests are discussed. Ideally, a COVID-19 test that is fit for purpose should aim at identifying individuals who are infectious with risk of transmission only. Frequent surveillance with an effective RAT may be a more practical solution to normalize international travel without compromising public safety. Meanwhile, physicians have an important role in counselling anxious and often confused travelers before and during international travels. International travelers should be aware of the implications of these COVID-19 testing results, and plan, schedule and have travel insurance accordingly.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS, MERS, rapid antigen, polymerase chain reaction.

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