EU Traffic Light System: How to get a COVID-19 PCR test before travelling

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EU Traffic Light System: How to get a COVID-19 PCR test before travelling

12 October 2020

EU Traffic Light System: How to get a COVID-19 PCR test before travelling

EU Traffic Light System: How to get a COVID-19 PCR test before travelling

As Covid-19 infection rates continue to rise in many parts of the world, an increasing number of countries are asking for a negative PCR test as a means of proof that travellers do not have the Covid-19 virus.

Whilst not yet a common requirement globally, it is understood that the EU could soon be turning to a Traffic Light System that will require pre-departure testing for individuals departing any of the 15 ‘red list’ countries – which includes the UK and could be extended to include Ireland.

Whilst there are currently a number of countries across the EU that do not require a negative COVID test for visitors from the UK, the implementation of this co-ordinated approach across the EU will place common requirements on all travellers from the UK, no matter which country they are visiting.

It could also be used in support of reduced quarantine in those countries which require it.

So – what is a PCR test?

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction and is a method of testing used to detect infectious disease, including COVID-19.

A PCR test is performed in a laboratory and is indicative of an individual’s COVID status at the time their sample is taken. It does not show previous infection.

Where can I get a COVID PCR test done?

PCR tests are available at Randox Health via an in-clinic appointment, or a home sample collection.

Are home tests accepted as proof of my COVID status?

It is important to note that many countries do not accept ‘home tests’ as proof of a negative COVID-19 result. Results must show that the test was performed in a certified laboratory.

Whilst Randox Health offers a home sample collection kit, all our testing is performed using PCR methods in our certified laboratories.

If the country you are travelling to requires a PCR test result, we’ve got you covered.

How do I know if I need a COVID PCR test?

You can check the entry requirements for your destination at

Requirements are subject to change, so keep checking in the weeks and days leading up to your trip.

When do I take my sample for testing?

Your destination country will determine the time frame required for testing. For example, it may state that your sample needs to be taken and tested within 72 hours before departure / arrival. You cannot be swabbed before this time.

It is best to book / order your test in advance and take it as early as possible within your window, so that you allow for the maximum amount of time to get your test results back.

How long do I wait for my results?

Upon receipt of sample at Randox’s laboratories, you will receive your results within 24 hours.

Our rapid, accurate and reliable COVID-19 testing service will help get your trip off to a hassle-free start, with minimum disruption to your travel plans.

Visit to order your home sample collection kit or book your clinic appointment.

For further information please email or phone 0800 2545 130.


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    Randox selected to screen travellers to the UAE for Covid-19

    02 September 2020

    Randox selected to screen travellers to the UAE for Covid-19

    Randox Laboratories selected to screen travellers to the UAE for Covid-19, with six sample collection centres across the United Kingdom and Ireland

    Randox Laboratories has been selected by Pure Health, the largest laboratory network in the UAE, to test airline passengers flying into the United Arab Emirates, in accordance with the UAE’s requirement for travellers to prove they are not infected with Covid-19. Pure Health has been appointed by the UAE’s government to launch this pioneering project to promote safe travel.

    “We are delighted to support Pure Health in their efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic and facilitate safe travels for passengers flying into the UAE,” said David Adamson, Randox Laboratories, Business Development Manager.

    “As one of the largest diagnostic facilities in UK, we are ideally placed to successfully deliver this ambitious initiative, and we are grateful for the trust placed in us.”

    Randox Laboratories has already set up six collection centres across United Kingdom and Ireland. The programme is already up and running in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Antrim and Dublin.

    “The UAE has trusted Pure Health with safeguarding it against any incoming Covid-19 threats, worldwide, this responsibility requires us to ensure we only partner with verified and accredited facilities around the world, thus why we have partnered with Randox Laboratories, to ensure that the screening process is of the highest quality and to ensure an excellent customer service for the travellers.” said Maria El Houari, International Passenger Screening Project Manager at Pure Health.

    The UAE issued regulations that require all travellers flying into the UAE to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Travellers without such a certificate are refused entry into the flight.

    The system is similar to the ESTA process in the United States. The traveller visits, chooses a testing location, selects a time slot, and completes the test at the agreed time and place. Test results are then transmitted to the UAE authorities, who use the data to cross-check arriving travellers against the border control database.

      For further information please email

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      Dr Peter FitzGerald: “Nothing will ever be the same again.”

      Dr Peter FitzGerald: Nothing will ever be the same again.

      An Interview with Ulster Business Editor John Mulgrew in The Belfast Telegraph, in which Dr FitzGerald speaks to John about developing and helping roll out millions of tests for Covid-19, a forever changed society, the high likelihood of a similar pandemic returning and when a vaccine for the virus could be found.

      Dr Peter FitzGerald’s expertise and opinion has probably never been taken as seriously as it has in the last few months.

      “Nothing will be the same again,” he tells Ulster Business. And, of course, he’s right.

      His firm Randox – based in Antrim – has been on the front line of testing for Covid-19 right across the UK and beyond. And as a result, he’s hired hundreds of new staff and built a £30m testing lab to deal with additional deluge of work resulting from a global pandemic unlike anyone here has ever seen.

      “I think there is a reasonable chance there will be more pandemics, with globalisation and increased population,” he told Ulster Business. “I have no idea how much it will come back again in second wave.

      “We know we have the capacity as a company to respond, and respond well. I suspect the country is going to be better prepared… it’s hard to predict.”

      The medical testing giant’s first involvement with the current coronavirus strain began back in January, before it became an increasingly concerning dinner conversation in homes across Northern Ireland.

      “In late January, research called and were looking at doing a test,” Peter said. “We downloaded the genetic sequence of the virus and spent the next two weeks developing a test. We can do it very quickly, as we already had coronaviruses on chip.

      “It was sent to Public Health England, which took a while to prove it. We then got a contract to test for the NHS… we were doing what we thought was for the national good.”

      The initial deal didn’t include all of the UK, but Randox is now also testing Northern Ireland.

      “We do the testing and we have different analysers that do the testing as well, which we sell to labs across the world.”

      The virus has led to a new complete lab being built (in which Peter is pictured in) to deal with the additional testing. “We decided to accelerate the manufacturing in our Randox Science Park in Antrim,” he says.

      As a result, it has hired around 200 staff in the space of six to eight weeks to deal with the surge.

      “Because we had closely related strains of the virus, it was wasn’t so difficult to modify our tests to allow for slightly different variations… once we got the contract we soon realised that we didn’t have enough lab space to deal with the ramp up.

      “We then decided to be 33,000 sq ft of new lab space, and it was needed in three weeks. We got that done – work was 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. It’s now operating well. That has been very important in the process.”

      Randox had a workforce of around 1,450 worldwide before the coronavirus crisis began, but has since taken on around 280 additional staff for a range of roles, partly in ramping up demand for the additional testing.

      “A lot were being taken on a temporary basis but many will be permanent. We are not sure of the final numbers, but well over 100.” Those roles include scientists, manufacturers, and engineers.

      “Nothing will be the same again,” Peter says. “What it has done is heightened the importance of testing. People sometimes don’t know what we do here at Randox… but people now realise.

      “In the end, it’s a good thing. We are advocates of testing. It identities disease before symptoms occur and can save lives in many occasions. It saves lives and saves costs. It fits in with what we have been trying to do for years… as far as we are concerned, it’s the silver lining.

      “We have customers worldwide and other products kept going. We moved around 100 scientists into Covid-related things and then they have gone back to normal jobs as we bring in new people.

      “Some of our R&D projects have changed, new systems and new analysers allow for efficient and accurate testing.”

      Peter says that just a small element of the business has seen a decrease amid the crisis, while other areas around Covid-19 have grown. “Only a small element of core business decreased. But our Covid and other genetic products have increased… overall sales will be up and by end of year normal business up as well.”

      As a result of the latest expansion and growth across the business, generally speaking, Peter says the workforce looks set to climb to 1,650, with around 500-600 based at its main headquarters, just outside Antrim.

      Peter’s also keen to reiterate the importance of Northern Ireland and its people to Randox. “This is our home base. It’s where we do our primary R&D and manufacturing. We also have a facility in Donegal.”

      And, could all of this happen again soon, with a further outbreak or a similarly devastating strain or pandemic?

      “(We are) more prepared and our technology is getting more accepted through bio chips. Early detection is a very important next stage. You don’t want people who have a cough or fever to think they have Covid all the time. That is where testing comes in and that differentiates.”

      Peter says the next stop forward in a bid to address similar future incidents it also understanding how our immune systems work – better.
      “The other major step forward in many ways is understanding the immune system better. How to better respond to infection. This will be very important.

      “Some people are susceptible, and this could be genetic. (It’s about) working on certain genes in those who may have a bad attack. It will prepare humans better, the body’s defence, dealing with it as well.

      “I have a deficiency in a particular gene which means I’m more susceptible to respiratory (conditions) but the spin-off of the gene means I’m less susceptible to certain cancers. This is the issue – it is so complex. One could be a strength and one moment, a weakness.”

      And as for the formulation of a proven vaccine, Peter says: “I would say it would be well into next year.”

        For further information please email

        Photo Credit Elaine Hill

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        COVID-19 Testing Service Testimonial: The Irish Football Association

        News       About Us       COVID-19


        25 July 2020

        COVID-19 Testing Service Testimonial: The Irish Football Association

        As we move towards a new ‘normal’ and sporting organisations begin the process of restarting their games, many teams will be wondering how to ensure a safe and reassuring training environment for their players and their staff.

        Thanks to our COVID-19 testing service, The Irish Football Association was able to facilitate a timely and efficient return to play by confirming their players as ‘COVID-safe.’

        Our ‘Back to Business’ programme has enabled the IFA to demonstrate their commitment to their players, their staff, and their fans, as well as get back to business by ensuring the highest level of safety.

        Corinne Lannie, Risk Manager at the Irish Football Association, commented;

        “The test kits were very straightforward to use.  The instructions were clear as was the YouTube guidance video. The recording onto the Randox system was easy and the speed of results was exceptional.

        “The support provided by Paul (Randox Business Development Executive) was amazing – he was extremely helpful and supportive and really went above and beyond.”

        At Randox, we offer two types of testing;

        PCR (diagnostic) testing, and antibody testing, which can give an indication that an individual has been previously infected with COVID-19.

        Sample collection services are available.

        David Hallendorff, Business Relations Manager at Randox Health commented;

        “Collectively we are all working towards a timely return to a more normal society, which will see companies reopening and people returning to work.

        “To facilitate this recovery of the economy, without compromising the health of workers or of the wider general public, workplaces have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment.

        “It is great to see so many companies putting the health of their staff as a priority and taking a proactive approach to testing.

        To find out more about our Back to Business COVID-19 Testing Service, please email or phone 0800 2545 130



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        COVID-19 Products and Services

        HOME TEST




        The Importance of Diagnostics

        What We Do       Our Team       Our History

        Healthcare Diagnostics: The Future of a Vital Industry

        Randox was established in 1982 to address the need for accurate and readily available diagnostic tests to improve patient diagnosis. Around 70% of all medical decisions are based on laboratory results, and so, not surprisingly, we believe that earlier, more accurate and more accessible diagnostics are the key to improving global health and saving lives.

        And yet, until now, in spite of their contribution to clinical decision making, and the important role they play in patient outcomes, diagnostic tests have only accounted for 2% of the UK’s national health budget.

        But things are changing. What was once a little-understood industry, working diligently behind-the-scenes, has quickly become an area of interest and relevance to just about everybody, given the key role the sector has played during the COVID-19 outbreak.

        Whilst regrettable that it has taken a pandemic to bring the health diagnostics sector into focus, it is a positive step forward for healthcare that the huge national and international scope of our sector is now rightly acknowledged.

        Click the links below to hear from a range of clinicians, pathologists and public officials on the importance of diagnostics, and from our customers on their experience of Randox testing technologies.

        • Key Opinion Leaders
        • Clinical Customers
        • COVID-19 Testing Service Customers
        • Case Studies
        • Randox in the media
        • Diagnostics in the media

        UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

        22 September 2020

        Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock

        21 September 2020

        Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman John Smyth

        26 June 2020

        Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock

        25 June 2020

        Minister for Innovation James Bethell

        25 June 2020

        Minister for Innovation James Bethell

        11 June 2020

        Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock

        23 April 2020

        UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive Prof Sir Mark Walport

        29 January 2019

        Minister of State for Northern Ireland John Penrose

        07 December 2018

        Chair Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Sir John Bell

        22 February 2018

        Quality Control Technologies Specialist Sten Westgard

        07 October 2016

        Tánaiste and Fine Gael Leader Leo Varadkar

        18 March 2015

        Adrian Cudmore NHS

        Dr Caje Moniz NHS

        Dr Rosa Sierra Amor

        Dr Bianca Thakkar

        Dr Anil Shah

        Dr Pragati Desai

        Dr Pramod Ingale

        Dr Rajeev Mehta

        Dr Simple Bhuptani

        Dr SM Patel

        Dr Trupti Patel

        Dr A Vahed Mulla

        Belfast International Airport MD Graham Keddie

        12 January 2021

        Liverpool Airport Commercial Director Lucy O’Shaughnessy

        23 December 2020

        Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison

        16 November 2020

        Randox Health client travelling with TUI

        17 October 2020

        Randox Health client travelling from Glasgow

        08 September 2020

        Pure Health Passenger Screening Manager Maria El Houari

        02 September 2020

        Irish Football Association Risk Manager Corinne Lannie

        25 July 2020

        Liverpool Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Cherpeau

        23 July 2020

        NSCB Medical College

        07 July 2020

        Norbrook Laboratories

        27 May 2020

        Royal Free Hospital London

        16 July 2017

        LUKMEF Cameroon

        03 October 2016

        Biomédica de Referencia

        18 March 2015

        Belfast Newsletter

        15 February 2021

        Daily Mirror/Belfast Live

        24 November 2020

        The Sunday Times

        01 March 2020

        Mail Online

        21 March 2019


        04 January 2019

        The Sun

        05 July 2012

        Mail Online

        09 August 2014

        The Telegraph

        12 August 2016

        The Daily Telegraph

        24 June 2020

        The Times

        22 January 2018

        The Irish Times

        23 December 2016

        Want to know more?

        Contact us or read the latest news on Randox.

        What We Do

        Our History

        Our Accreditations

        Matt Hancock and Lord Bethell support Randox in call for future focus on diagnostics

        News       About Us       COVID-19


        29 June 2020

        Matt Hancock and Lord Bethell support Randox in call for future focus on diagnostics

        Matt Hancock and Lord Bethell support Randox in call for future focus on diagnostics

        In a recent Opinion Piece in The Daily Telegraph, our Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald stressed the value of diagnostics, the important role it plays in public health, and the contribution it has made specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Whilst regrettable that it has taken a pandemic to bring the health diagnostics sector into focus, it is a positive step forward for healthcare that the huge national and international scope of our sector is now rightly acknowledged.

        Indeed, Dr FitzGerald’s commentary was acknowledged by both the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, and the Minister for Innovation, Jim Bethell.

        The Secretary of State noted that “Randox have played a vital role in building our global-scale diagnostics capacity.”

          It is clear that the diagnostics industry, inclusive of the work Randox has done in the field, has had a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19. We know that testing at scale is the most effective way to both save lives, and ensure a timely return to a more normal society.

          We are very proud of our staff, for their ongoing support, and for their commitment to the work that we do, which is making a real and positive difference.

          You can read Dr FitzGerald’s full Opinion Piece for The Daily Telegraph, on our own website, by clicking here.

          For further information please contact or phone 028 9442 2413

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