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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Room Service: I’m Here with Your Covid Test

Covid Test Abroad is part of the Punxsutawney TPOL Trip Report, where TPOL leaves the basement. It’s finally happening despite inconsistent policies, interruptions, and human stupidity as explained in these posts:

The only way to return to the United States, the country of which I am a citizen, the country to which I have pledged allegiance, is by producing a negative covid test within 72 hours of departure.

That was the situation I was facing going from Bogota to Puerto Rico. In order to take the test, I had two choices: 1. Go to a Colombian hospital 2. Order room service. I have been to a Colombian hospital before (see Mystery Solved: TPOL’s Disappearance in Medellin) and had no interest in going back. I went with option 2. For the nice price of $35, the JW Marriott booked an appointment for the testing man to come to my room.


The testing man showed up dressed in full PPE, making me feel like patient zero. He took my passport and asked me about my vaccination status. After more questions, the test was about to begin. I thought I had signed up for the antigen test. When he came towards me with the swab, I recoiled in fear, recalling my first and only PCR test (see Thanks Donald! My COVID Test in Puerto Rico). Either the technology or methodology has improved. This time the sinus massage only lasted a couple of seconds. Lollipop in hand, I gave the testing man my Amex card. He processed my payment and was on his way. Hours later I received the results. They were negative. I could go home.a person in a blue uniform sitting in a chair in a living room

TPOL’s Tip: Order the test first thing in the morning. Hungover or not (see Bogota, a Party City? Who Knew?), waiting until 2PM for the test man to show up was a waste of time.


At the airport, I was curious where they would check my test result, if at all. With a mobile boarding pass, I headed to the gate. When boarding started, I heard the agent asking some people for their tests. When I presented my passport, I was told, “Welcome, aboard.” That was it.


Had I tested positive, I would have had to stay in Colombia until I received a negative test. Where I would have stayed, I have no idea. Would I have to quarantine and for how long? I do not know. What I do know is that it is ridiculous that an American citizen cannot come home. The thought that one less infected person would make a difference to the cesspool of infection that plagues the US is absurd. American borders have been open. The virus is here, yet intelligence and pragmatic thought are gone. Ignorance and impulse have taken over. Welcome to the post-covid world.

Bottom line: COVID Test for Return Travel Is Stupid



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