24 AUGUST 2020


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Article from BTNews 24 AUGUST 2020

Virus testing for Heathrow

London’s Heathrow Airport is set to implement a Covid-19 trial in Terminal 2, but is waiting for a government endorsement.  It is finished and basically ready to go!

A similar facility is being built in Terminal 5.

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) released a report last week in which it said that a two-test approach (one at the airport and one several days later) could be an effective way to reduce quarantine without posing a significant public health risk.

A price of £150 is being quoted by the providing partnership, Swissport the largest aircraft handling agency on the airport and Collinson a global leader in the provision of traveller experiences including medical and security assistance and travel medical services.  They say it is a first step with the potential for the cost to come down as the numbers using the facility are scaled-up.

More than 13,000 passenger tests can be carried out each day using the existing facility.

Airport-based Covid-19 testing has been embraced by more than 30 countries around the world, helping to get the travel industry back up and running while safeguarding public health. PCR (DNA) testing at the border has been extensively trialled internationally, in locations with very strong scientific oversight such as Germany, and found to be safe, and now rolled out in France, Iceland and Austria.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Testing will not only avoid the ‘quarantine roulette’ that so many passengers faced in Spain and France, it will also open up flights to key trading partners such as the US, Canada and Singapore.  The government’s own research shows that a double test has a high level of accuracy in screening for Covid.  This facility is an oven-ready opportunity to see how Britain can safely reopen for business, as other countries are doing.”



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David Starkie, London

So why the delay?