Travel

Heathrow calls for coronavirus tests at UK airports, costing the traveller £150

Heathrow calls for coronavirus tests at UK airports, costing the traveller £150

Heathrow calls for coronavirus tests at UK airports

The head of Heathrow has called for airports to be allowed to test for coronavirus to avoid the “cliff-edge” of quarantine. 

Speaking to the BBC, John Holland-Kaye said changes to travel guidance over Spain showed the need for an alternative. Adding he wanted the government to work with the airport. 

But the Culture Secretary told the BBC that because the virus could develop over time, testing was not a “silver bullet.”

Mr Holland-Kaye said the passenger would pay the cost of the test, an estimated £150 if conducted at the airport. 

He acknowledged the test is “not cheap.”

But said there would be people prepared to stand that cost: “There people who are worried about being able to go back to work or get kids to school, there will be people who are prepared to pay that to avoid the extra period of quarantine.

“The aim would be to have a test on arrival at [the] airport. We could have it up and running in the next two weeks, then we need to work with [the] government to see what happens next.” 

He said the plan would be for passengers to into quarantine and have another test after eight days: “If they were infected we would be confident that it had shown itself. If it was clear, they would be allowed to go out of quarantine earlier than had been the case. It’s very scientifically based.” 

Under current rules, those arriving in the UK from certain countries must self-isolate for 14 days. All measures are believed to be under government review. 

It is believed they are considering an eight-day stretch between tests, whereas figures within the travel sector are keen for a five day period. 

The number of days required between each test is critical in reducing the possibility of “false negative” results. 

A false-negative result is possible if someone who has recently contracted Covid-19 is not showing symptoms. 

France is about to launch its compulsory two-test regime for people arriving from at-risk countries. 

Mr Holland-Kaye said the airport wanted to start up trials with Singapore and Canada. 

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