I know, I’m probably testing your patience writing about the need to introduce COVID-19 testing at airports around the world. But, with airports continuing to reopen and airlines resuming at least some of their services, it’s become increasingly obvious that testing will be vital to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and rebuild passenger confidence.

Major airline chief executives have already called upon US and European governments to introduce a new joint COVID-19 testing scheme. The companies involved believe that airport testing should take the place of mandatory quarantine requirements.

Now, Gloria Guevara, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President and CEO is adding her support for testing, saying, “A substantial programme of investment to ensure comprehensive testing facilities are implemented at airports is needed.” She added, “This will provide reassurance to all travellers, maintain ‘air corridors’ between countries, and remove damage and disruption caused by blunt quarantines which massively impact the recovery of the travel and tourism sector.”

As part of the screening process, WTTC would like to see testing that involves temperature checks and swab tests for all arriving and departing passengers with results back within 24 hours. Only those testing positive – with or without symptoms – should be put into quarantine. “Where there are apps to assist in effective test and trace regimes, passengers must be advised to sign up and use them,” Guevara added.

Some countries and airports have already implemented compulsory COVID-19 testing for passengers prior to boarding an aircraft or on arrival from certain destinations. Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands is a case in point. It has introduced a COVID-19 test centre (pictured right) in collaboration with Ecolog Deutschland (a leading provider of integrated services including logistics, screening and diagnostics) and Pro Health Medical. Designed to support airports, airlines and governments in their efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, Ecolog’s testing station provides travellers with the ability to perform a COVID-19 RT-PCR test and to receive the results electronically on the same day that the sample is taken.

“Driving test adoption by public is regarded as one of the most effective ways to fight this pandemic,” said Ali Vezvaei, Group CEO of Ecolog International. “To do so, testing should come to the people and it has to become affordable,” he added.

Guevara sums it up perfectly: “We are going to have to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future so we must do all we can to protect public health and save lives, whilst restoring consumer confidence, driving the global economic recovery, and saving the jobs of millions of people whose very livelihoods depend upon a thriving travel and tourism sector.”

Have a great weekend, 

Chloë Greenbank, Regional Gateway Editor.

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