Outrage over high price of covid tests for students wanting to fly home to China this summer

Students wanting to travel home this summer have said they are shocked by new rules which mean it is harder to travel home to their families and could cost a lot more.

The Chinese Embassy in the UK issued a new pre-boarding PCR policy on March 23 which said that people needed to be tested within 12 hours of flying. This is down from the previous 48 hours before flying. 

At the same time, the embassy has stipulated that students need to undergo PCR testing in some designated medical institutions and most students who want to go back to China will choose OPTIPHARM to do their PCR testing.

OPTIPHARM is a testing institution designated by the Chinese Embassy in the UK, a testing institution recognized by the British Ministry of Health, and a designated pharmacy for NHS medical services. It is also the first Chinese institution in the UK to be approved for the registration of the new coronavirus vaccine.

It is providing high-quality medical services for Chinese in the UK, and its fee have provoked controversy. After the latest PCR policy was released, it was rumoured to be priced at £700 for three PCR tests online.

There has been some confusion online. Although there have been claims it will cost £700, official sources have quoted a lower figure.

OPTIPHARM stated on its website on 24 March: “The news that the price of three PCR tests is £700 pounds is a rumour. After further communication and negotiation with the Chinese embassy in the UK, we will definitely reduce the price of three PCR tests by ten pounds. So the latest price is £418.

“We will work hard to improve the quality of our service and escort your trip back home.”

Leo Liu, 23, a Postgraduate student at the University of Sheffield, said: “Although the current price has been reduced by ten pounds, it still reaches 418 pounds, which is several times more expensive than other local institutions in the UK.

“As far as I know, the price of the local institution is about half of OPTIPHARM ’s and it is about £200 . If you include the cost of the return flight and hotel quarantine, it may cost more than £7,000. We have to pay the price because we have to go home.”

Jason Wang, 21, a third year student at the University of Sheffield, said : “I don’t think this pricing is a normal and reasonable price. I hope everyone can work together to reduce the cost.”

More information can be found on the website of the Chinese Embassy in the UK and the official website of OPTIPHARM.

Written by YI LI

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