21.08.2020  

Heathrow Airport has unveiled plans for a new coronavirus testing facility which it hopes will bring an end to the mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers returning from certain countries.

According to the airport's proposals arriving passengers will be able to book swab tests and have results sent to them in seven hours.

Similar facilities are being used in Germany and Iceland but the scheme requires Government approval before it can begin in the UK.

Travellers can do a second test at home a few days later and then leave quarantine early if they pass both checks, the Daily Mail reported.

A Heathrow spokesman previously accused the Government of playing "quarantine roulette" after a surge of coronavirus cases in France saw ministers remove the country from the UK's safe countries travel list.

"We urge Government to work with us to trial a solution which could help to provide more certainty," said the spokesman.

Heathrow executives hope the introduction of the new facility will enable those testing negative for Covid-19 to leave quarantine five to eight days after landing.

It comes as The Daily Telegraph reported Cabinet ministers will meet next week to discuss plans to replace blanket quarantines with coronavirus testing for travellers.

Documents released on Friday from Sage’s June 18 meeting showed the scientific group found “double testing of travellers significantly reduces the risk of false negatives and could enable quarantine duration of less than 14 days”.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye wrote in the Mail the airport had been calling on the Government to introduce testing as an alternative to quarantine for months.

He said: “Heathrow is ready to support this provided the Government sets clear guidelines for a second test and changes regulations to allow passengers who provide two negative tests to leave quarantine early.

“We have worked closely with aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport to ensure such a testing procedure can be in place. If the Government is serious about protecting the economy, this is exactly what should be done.”
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(This article subject has not been edited by Ocxee staff and is referred from Evening Standard)