Heathrow airport’s new testing facility for passengers arriving in London is ready. However, it will help the arriving passengers to escape the current two-week quarantine by using tests said the health secretary.
As the aviation industry is struggling with low demand due to the pandemic. And the people are not frequently traveling because of the government’s 14-day quarantine rule. However, the airlines are in great need to find an alternative to 14 days of self-isolation. Especially for arrivals from France, Spain, the Netherlands, and many other nations.
About more than 30 countries use airport-based testing. But at present, the UK does not allow on reducing the quarantine if the traveler tests negative.
However, Matt Hancock said, “We’re working on that.” When asked about the prospect of airport tests.
In addition, he said, “The challenge with the biology of the virus is that it incubates for up to two weeks in the body. So just having a test doesn’t mean that you don’t have the virus in you.”
“So you have to have repeat testing.”
However, the aviation industry is suggesting a test on arrival. And also a second test on either five or eight days later.
Reducing the Quarantine Days
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the government. Has been considering a quarantine-and-test system that would cut the need to self-isolate to 10 days. The Sage group believes it would pick up 96 percent of infected individuals.
However, business travelers and tourists are not willing to shave just a few days from quarantine. And could instead avoid travel to the UK.
The testing facility is available in Terminal 2. And it is for passengers who are willing to pay £150 for a PCR test in the hope of reducing the duration of self-isolation.
It has been set up by the international medical and security firm Collinson. And the ground-handling operator, Swissport, and can test 13,000 passengers each day.
On Monday, the health secretary will discuss options with the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove.
However, the ministers will discuss allowing quarantine-free travel to low-risk areas of popular countries. Such as the Balearics and Canary Islands of Spain, and Madeira and the Azores in Portugal.
At present, the government has a strictly binary approach to destinations. Either it is considering a country as high risk or low risk, with no differentiation between regions.
The travel industry and MPs have been calling for a more nuanced approach to quarantine in a bid to limit the severe damage to airlines and holiday firms caused by the government’s on-off quarantine requirements.