ARRIVALS at London’s Heathrow on the UK governments ‘Red List’ of Covid countries are to be offered an alternative to quarantine.
Coronavirus testing is to be made available for passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport if the government amends its quarantine policy. Travel assistance company Collinson and ground-handling firm Swissport announced they have developed a quick system for people landing at the UK’s busiest airport to get tested, get their results within a day, and avoid self-isolation if they get the all-clear.
Tests would cost around €155 (£140) each and would be aimed at people returning to or visiting England from countries not included on the quarantine exemption list published by the Department for Transport on Friday, such as China, Portugal, and the US. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has already signalled his support for Covid-19 testing as a way to revive flying after it was decimated by the pandemic and is seeking to agree on international standards that could allow quarantine-free air travel.
Twenty-one countries including Austria, Iceland, Jersey, Madeira, Thailand, Singapore, Barbados, Jamaica, and Japan have already introduced airport tests that can allow some passengers to avoid quarantine if they are negative for Covid-19.
How it would work
A swab will be taken to a Collinson laboratory near the airport for analysis. Passengers will be asked to transfer to their place of accommodation while they wait for their results. If the test is negative for the virus, they would have no restrictions on their movement – if it comes back positive, they would need to self-isolate at the same address for 14 days.