Testing for COVID-19 has become a very profitable business in Mexican resort destinations such as Cancún. But some testing sites are accused of price gouging or even administering phony tests.
PCR tests in Mexico cost an average of 945 pesos but are administered to tourists in resort destinations such as Cancún for up to $US150, slightly over 3,000 pesos.
Many travel operators now include the cost of PCR COVID-19 tests in their holiday packages. These tests are administered in airports, hotels and in outdoor tents in areas such as parking lots.
“I was planning to visit Cancún, but when I was making my reservation I was told I would have to pay $US150 for a PCR test. I thought that was really excessive so I decided to cancel my trip,” said Nelson Torres, a would-be tourist from Costa Rica.
There are approximately 150 laboratories in the state of Quintana Roo offering PCR tests. However, according to state authorities, there is a growing problem surrounding fake tests.
“I am ordering a thorough investigation of the situation, Cancún’s citizenry and tourists need to be certain that they are getting what they are paying for, but more than anything else this is a public health issue,” said Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquín González.
Gonzalez also ordered the National Guard to inspect the area surrounding the Cancún airport for unauthorized testing sites.
State health authorities recommend that tourists ask tour operators for the name of the laboratory that will be conducting their test and then verify that it has been vetted by the Mexican health ministry.
A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism such as COVID-19.