More COVID tests, faster results: a new lab on wheels launches in Prague

The mobile service can be ordered by businesses and individuals for conducting both PCR and rapid antigen testing

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 02.12.2020 11:33 (updated on 02.12.2020)

A mobile COVID testing unit which allows companies and groups of people to order tests on demand and get results faster debuted in the Czech capital Tuesday.

The mobile lab, a specially adapted city ambulance, can conduct both sampling and testing for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Depending on the number of samples taken by the lab at a given site, test results can be available in up to two hours.

"According to the latest figures, Prague is managing the COVID-19 epidemic well compared to the rest of the country,” Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček, told reporters yesterday. 

“On the one hand, this is due to the discipline of the citizens of Prague and the observance of the rules, which I would like to thank them for, but also the detection of asymptomatic patients,” he said.

The mobile lab will be operated by medics and certified laboratory staff who will conduct the PCR analysis as well as rapid tests for antigens and antibodies, determining results in just ten minutes.

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Up to 94 people can be tested at once by the mobile unit, making it ideal for businesses and large events, said Viktor Furman, director of GHC Genetics, which is operating the new service.

"We believe that this service will help many entrepreneurs in particular to function fully again, whatever the measures set by the government. The mobile laboratory is a comfortable method, that allows a group of people who are in close contact to be tested in a short time with a reliable PCR test.”

He said that mobile testing allows infected people to be isolated in time, so that “your entire operation does not have to be limited or even interrupted.” Furman also said that he could see the service having future applications for weddings and family celebrations.

Deputy mayor Hlubuček added: "It's not a mobile ambulance that takes samples. We already have four. It's a mobile lab that can be used on a commercial basis and I see it as a service to the people of Prague." 

Reservations can be made via email address mobilnilaborator@ghc.cz or telephone at 739 500 500; it is necessary to state the date, place of planned collection, and the number of people to be tested in advance (more details can be found on the GHC website).

Pricing depends on the number of samples required and includes both a fee for testing and a one-time ambulance charge. For 5-10 samples the cost is CZK 2,500 per person plus a CZK 5,000 ambulance fee. As the number of samples needed increases, the per-person and ambulance fees drop.

The Czech Republic reported 176 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, about 700 fewer than last Tuesday, and saw the daily number of new infections slow down together with a coronavirus death toll decline, according to the Health Ministry's data released this morning.

The risk level determined by the government’s PES pandemic alert system has held at 42 in Prague for several days.