Airport coronavirus testing is to be trialled at a UK airport in a bid to end quarantine rules, The Times claims.
Under plans to phase out blanket quarantine restrictions, several hundred passengers a day arriving at a major UK airport will be asked to volunteer to be tested for free.
Airport services firms Swissport and Collinson will run the two-week trial with the RT-PCR tests being administered by nurses using throat and nose swabs.
A quicker and easier saliva test will also be trialled.
Travellers will then be asked to travel home or to the place they are staying and await test results which are expected to be ready in as little as seven hours via an online portal.
Passengers testing positive will be referred to Public Health England and it’s hoped that those testing negative can then avoid being quarantined.
Under the government’s quarantine rule which was introduced on June 8, all travellers returning to the UK must quarantine for 14 days unless they are on the list of exemptions.
However, Boris Johnson is expected to announce a string of deals with a “small number” of countries to create air bridges later this month to allow quarantine-free travel, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The government is not involved with the trial but it’s hoped, if successful, ministers could be convinced to roll it out in airports across the UK.
The Times say that airlines have hailed the move as ‘game-changing’.
Simon Worrell, the global medical director of Collinson, told The Times : “Clearly this needs government buy-in, but we really think this will be an excellent way to get people flying again.
“It will enable those who don’t need to quarantine to go about their business.”
Jason Holt, chief executive for western Europe at Swissport, said: “The primary concern we have is the challenging adverse impact of the quarantine on the aviation sector.
“Both businesses have come together with an intelligent way to assist the government; not to remove the quarantine but to complement it.
“The odds are that 95 per cent of the travelling public will be Covid-free and we are seeking an exemption from the government for those people.
“This will give consumer confidence to families and businesses to start to purchase tickets again and put the sector back on its feet.”