Thought Covid Travel Testing Was A Holiday Formality – I Was So Wrong

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The parents and the chief’s brother die of Covid within a week after the refusal of the jab


isyou started next to a trailer at the back of a church. We were going to Morocco – but only if the children had negative PCR tests first. Remotely, it’s a formality, like checking in online and carefully checking that you don’t have a Swiss Army Knife in your hand baggage. It wasn’t until the date got closer that the reality started to kick in that they might indeed have Covid and it would be wiser not to get too excited until we have the results. .

By then, of course, it was too late. I was already too excited and all that anticipation effortlessly turned into a terror that bit my nails. My son was biting his nails too, which my daughter hates, but nothing makes her crazier than when we both do it at the same time. It’s not the bite, apparently, but the melodramatic terror in our eyes. He didn’t even worry about the test, he feared that the lady who was testing had the wrong passport number and that he would be turned away for a technical problem. “She asked me to compare it to my passport and I said I did, but I only went through it. “

” OKAY. But why? “

“I was polite. She looked bored.

He’s a hellish fool, but he has good manners.

When the negative results came in, I realized something about the business model: the gratitude penalty is included in the price. The working assumption is that you will be so happy to go that you will never think, let alone mention, what an absolute racket that is it.

Six days later, however, I realized how much I hadn’t thought about it: we were now in a faraway and beautiful country, and all needed negative results to get home, but the younger ones were. income from the test center. It was not conclusive but rather, “these results will be visible as soon as we receive an additional 100 €”.

None of this made sense: it was double the cost of the initial test, which we had already paid, but the counting part of my brain had long since given way to histrionic catastrophism. We wouldn’t be allowed to go home if it was positive, that was clear. But what was going to happen to us abroad? Would there be government approved housing? How would it look like a prison? What if she had it and I caught it from her in quarantine, then we had to quarantine again, and we had to live in corona exile forever? It was just another racket, of course, and everyone was negative. The outpouring of gratitude was so strong that it took on an almost masochistic flavor: please, someone, make us pay even more money, so that we can be doubly negative, our uploaded certificates embossed. with virtual gold foil.

On days two and eight, the test providers stepped up beautifully on this plate: they need to be government approved, but the more they are, the more their websites look like regular scam operations.

Low numbers that inexorably land on prices five times higher, particular details buried in the fine print to indicate that your second day test might not arrive until you’ve already been home a week. It looks like a loan shark, in that I have become convinced that it is not genuine. Who could be more likely to have their clicks hacked than this government?

The people behind us in the airport queue had all of their locate forms printed and stored in matching envelopes, like the pros. The atmosphere was like the last train of a risky principality in a war-torn Europe. What is this documentation? Why doesn’t mine look like this? What did they hear that I didn’t hear?

It’s probably a betrayal to point it out, but what the heck – once you land they never check any of those forms. The whole system is kept aloft on the thermals of your own anxiety and untold amounts of money.

Morocco, however, is absolutely charming, and we repaid its beauty by importing a nits infestation. That’s good, though – I think we brought most of them back.

Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist

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