Collinson – owner of airport lounge provider Priority Pass – has partnered with ground and cargo handling firm Swissport to pilot airport-based COVID-19 testing to ease quarantine for travellers arriving in the UK.
The private service would see passengers booking a Covid-19 test before beginning their journey to the UK, which would then be carried out on arrival by Collinson nurses in a Swissport facility with the airport terminal, with the result known within around five hours.
The tests could mean easing restrictions that would otherwise see passengers needing to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the UK. Inbound travellers who test negative would be exempt from quarantine, just as cabin crew and some essential workers are already.
Both Swissport and Collinson have written to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to ask for the government’s support for the ‘Test-on-Arrival’ scheme, which could see it added to an existing list of exemptions for quarantine.
The tests use the gold standard of virus detection, RT-PCR testing, which is sensitive enough to detect the particles of COVID-19, even if the passenger has displayed no symptoms. Under the proposals travellers taking the RT-PCR swab test would continue to their quarantine address provided at the time of booking to await the result, which, if negative, would allow them to come out of self-isolation. In the less likely event that the test is returned positive, the passenger will be asked to abide by government isolation requirements and remain at their given quarantine address for the next 14 days.