Arriving into Madeira, it took around one hour from landing to leaving taking into account that we required a covid test on arrival. We cleared passport control, collected our bags and then headed through temperature screening (although you can’t see this). Then the queue splits into two: green or blue. Green is for those who have a negative test with them and blue is for those who need to take the test. As you can perhaps predict, the only real queue here is for the blue line!
The airport is full of volunteers directing you from this point. They will check your QR code which you obtain prior to arrival having completed the passenger locator form for Madeira and if you’ve not done this, you’ll get an iPad to fill this in. Just complete this before (as you should) as this will save you any further delays.
Once your QR code is checked you then join the test queue. This snakes outside and past a banana station where another volunteer is handing out tasty Madeiran bananas. You then head to another station where your QR code is scanned and details confirmed. You will be issued with 4 barcodes. The first you keep and the other three you hold on to ready to hand over to your nurse completing the testing. From here it’s a short queue before entering a section of porta cabin where the testing happens.
The nurse who saw me was very reassuring and promised it wouldn’t hurt. I sat down, tilted my head back and breathed deeply and slowly. She inserted a long cotton bud like swab into one nostril for a few seconds and did the same in the other. She then took a second long cotton bud and inserted this into my mouth. It was a little like being at the dentist, I had to keep my tongue down and open wide. Of the two, I found the throat swab the worst part as it did take a bit of concentration not to gag too much and it did make my eyes water a little as a result. The nose swab felt unusual although my husband said it was the worst part for him and felt as though it was burning. The whole test took about a minute and then we were on our way. Thirty seconds of feeling slightly uncomfortable for a week here really is nothing to worry about!
We had our test at just before 3:30pm and had to wait in our hotel until the result came through which was at just before 2:30am. We were allowed to go to our hotel restaurant and bar and ate/drank outside at both, only unmasking to eat and drink. As soon as we had our negative test result when we woke the next morning, we showed reception and could leave the hotel.
It’s an exceptionally efficient testing system and gives you the confidence that everyone arriving is being tested and everyone who is positive at the point of testing is being found. It makes Madeira a very safe place to be!