Drive-thru Covid-19 Test Centers in Bali? A Closer Look at the Urgency of it


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When going through this chaotic cycle of life that Covid-19 had unfortunately taken upon us, it’s often dilemmatic to decide between going outside the house and staying inside; especially when we actually have things to do outside the house.

Similarly, we often hesitate to go to public facilities such as clinic and hospitals; precisely because there are serious chances of getting contaminated with the virus from fellow patients or customers. So what do we do when we get to get tested, without having to co promise our health and taking the chance to get the virus from strangers? Well, many countries have come up with this amazing idea of a drive-thru Covid-19 test center; through which people can conveniently get Covid-19 test without even having to come out from their cars. Neat, right?

For those who develop coronavirus-like symptoms but don’t want to go to hospital too soon, the drive-thru allows a faster and safer Covid-19 screening because it minimizes physical contact between the lab technicians and the test taker. There is no need to step out of your vehicle to get tested, Now, while there have been plenty of such centers available in the capital town Jakarta, there strangely aren’t so many of them available on this expats-packed tiny islands. We truly think it’s about time to get (at least) some more for us here, don’t you think? Anyway, how does this really work?

Well, in a nutshell, health workers carry out rapid tests by taking the blood sample to detect the antibody level. This method, however, is only meant for quicker results and is less accurate than the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method or nasal swab test. Results will be notified through WhatsApp on the same day. Those who test positive for a virus attack will be requested to undergo a swab test, which will examine more accurately if the infection is caused by the novel coronavirus. If the result comes back negative, they will have to retake the test in seven to ten days.

If you need more details, below is the elaborated steps of drive-thru Covid-19 test center that we can gather from the internet:

  1. Before arrival, patients registered online for a 10 minute appointment between 8AM and 2PM.
  2. Registration was organized by vehicle, and each registration included the names, demographics and contact information of the persons who would be inside that vehicle.
  3. Upon arrival to the testing site, patients were greeted at the front of a covered parking structure and were directed by the National Guard to a marked parking space. The parking space had a sign in front of it with a phone number and instructions for one person in the vehicle to text the number with their last name to serve as notification for their vehicle arrival.
  4. The text went to a Registrar, who assigned the vehicle to a Care Team (A-E). The assigned Care Team then called the person who texted, confirmed the registration of those inside, provided anticipatory guidance, and sent a video showing how to self collect a nasal swab.
  5. The Care Team then instructed the car to exit the parking structure and drive to the indicated testing station (#1-10) in the adjacent lot.
  6. Upon arrival to the indicated testing station (#1-10), a member of the assigned Care Tea would run out the labeled test kits (swabs, instructions) and care kits (masks, guidance) to the members of that vehicle, and place them on the table next to the vehicle. The driver would exit the vehicle, pick up the test kits and care kits and then return to their vehicle. The members of the vehicle would perform their own testing swabs and then return the test kits to the table. The vehicle would then drive away with their care kits, opening up the testing station for the next vehicle. In total, there were 10-12 vehicles at a time self-collecting their nasal swabs.
  7. For follow-up, those with positive results were called and informed about isolation and other public health recommendations. Those with negative results were emailed and informed about standard public health recommendations.

Alright, now that we all know how this system works, let’s talk about how the local Bali government tackles Covid-19 and if there is any indication of the island getting a drive-thru Covid-19 test centers soon. According to the news we managed to gather from the internet, there are only a handful, if not a couple, of such facilities available in Bali: one conducted by one of the biggest hospital chain in the nation which has a branch on the island, and another made available by an online medical service application in partnership with local laboratories.

With prices ranging between 175K to just below 1M Indonesian Rupiah, these Covid-19 test centers provide alll kinds of Covid-19 tests such as the IGG and IGM Rapid tests and also the PCR and Antigen Swab tests. Depending on how quick you need the result to come out, you’ll be given the information of the prices even before you come in for the test.

While 2021 has promised us the perfecting of the Covid-19 vaccine, we honestly don’t know how much longer we have to wait for it happen, distributed, and proved safe. If in the meantime we need to hop on a plane and catch a flight, this drive thru Covid-19 test centers will prove very useful. Let’s just hope that they will open more facilities like this in Bali. Until that day, do stay safe and healthy, and please keep doing all those health protocols to keep the virus at bay. Have a great day!