Coronavirus: Travellers could be tested at UK airports

Yahoo Finance UK
Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Passengers arriving at UK airports could be tested for COVID-19 and have the results within five hours.

Saliva swab tests used by the NHS to screen for the virus are to be tested on 500 passengers a day in the initial stages, reports BBC News.

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Companies are planning to trial the scheme to enable travellers to bypass the government's 14-day quarantine if their test is negative.

People will have to pay around £140 ($172.88) for a test booked online before travel, with the trial expected to begin at a major UK airport within weeks.

Passengers would visit an airport clinic after immigration to take a test and self-isolate at home until they received the result. A negative result could be returned within five hours but the plan is for every participant to be notified within 24 hours.

Jason Holt, boss of ground-handling firm Swissport UK, which is one of two companies involved, described the scheme as a "win-win".

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Airbus extends furlough scheme in UK, Spain

"We accept that the quarantine is in place. This will complement it and help put UK aviation back on its feet," he told the BBC.

"If they [the passenger] were COVID-negative we would ask the government to consider them to be free from the quarantine and they would have 13 days plus avoiding the quarantine."

Nurses would carry out the airport swab tests at clinics run by medical firm Collinson, which is yet to confirm government approval.

Once the pilot has been trialled Collinson expects it to be scaled -up so hundreds of thousands of passengers can be tested a day.

Swab tests for passengers are already in place at airports in Hong Kong and Vienna and a trial began at Jersey airport earlier this month.

The government is looking to make an announcement on 29 June confirming a number of "travel corridors" to allow passengers to travel to and from the UK and agreed European countries without the need for quarantine.

Airlines have slammed the UK and Irish government's strict quarantine rules claiming they are exacerbating the crisis within the aviation industry.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Travel quarantine rules to relax for some countries

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