My mother in law came to visit us back in December of 2019. She has a valid green card but got stuck here due to Covid 19. Now she is ready to fly back to Iraq. In order to fly she will be taking Turkish Airlines (operated by JetBlue Airways) to fly from DTW (Detroit, MI) to Boston. Then from Boston to Turkey. Then from Turkey to Iraq.

The travel agent is stating that we need a Covid 19 PCR Test two days PRIOR to flying out. Her ticket is for the 28th of August, which means she needs this test on the 26th of August with the results. Each place I call state that they either do not do this test or refer me to another lab / office.

I finally found one place that may do the test however they stated that it could take 36 to 48 hours to get a result and even it might take longer. The risk is high as she is supposed to fly out on the 28th of August. Im curious why the airliners impose these restrictions yet the medical folks cannot adhere to these restrictions? Am I doing something wrong or am I not understanding what the rules / regulations required to fly internationally are right now?

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    Often it's the destination's government who imposes these requirements and whether the place of departure has the capability to do that is not really a concern to the destination's public health consideration (unless it is scientifically/technically impossible, which isn't the case here, the US simply has too little capacity compared to people that need test). – xngtng Aug 6 '20 at 15:52
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    Is the final destination in the Kurdistan Region? I can only find requirements of PCR test for that region so far. – xngtng Aug 6 '20 at 15:55
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    She would fly to Erbil, Iraq eventually. – JonH Aug 6 '20 at 15:57
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    @zhantongz - I read this Travelers arriving at Erbil International Airport or at land border crossings should possess a negative COVID-19 test result that is less than 48 hours old. Travelers without a COVID-19 result will be tested at their cost. Arriving travelers must sign a pledge to quarantine for 48 hours at their destination until they receive results. Persons with positive results will be transferred to COVID-19 clinics. from this site: iq.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information – JonH Aug 6 '20 at 16:04
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    @zhantongz - I don't know if that means she doesnt really need this test or not ? As one of the sentences says "Travelers without a covid-19 result will be tested at their cost." – JonH Aug 6 '20 at 17:37

Im curious why the airliners impose these restrictions yet the medical folks cannot adhere to these restrictions?

Because they are different entities doing different things for different reasons. First of all, this has nothing with the airliners. The requirements to provide negative test on arrival come from the local governments. These governments are mainly concerned about keeping their own population safe and the economy alive. Travel is a low priority. So the government is saying. "You can enter but you have to prove to us that you are Covid negative. How you do this is your problem and if you don't like it, just stay put where you are".

The idea here is that you get tested BEFORE you hop on a plane, so it should be done in the departure country over which the arrival country has no control of in the first place. However, the departure country is in the same boat: their priorities are population safety and economy and travel is just not that important. In many countries test resources are precious and limited, and so they are primarily used for people who have a good reason to be tested: people with symptoms, front line workers, essential workers, etc. Again, travel is just "nice to have".

That's actually really bad for the airlines, so some of them are actively trying to help. Lufthansa, for example, has collaborated with testing company to do same day testing right in Frankfurt airport when you arrive.

  • Its not nice to have when your home is in that country. And my point is if these types of requirements are made and travel is allowed they should make sure they can REALLY be made otherwise its a waste of peoples time and money! On the point of they do not communicate that is THEIR problem not mine. – JonH Aug 7 '20 at 13:00

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