Europe’s busiest airport, London Heathrow, on Tuesday starts to roll out paid-for rapid coronavirus testing for passengers traveling to Hong Kong and Italy, which required a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival.
From Tuesday, passengers at London’s Heathrow airport can pay £80, or $104 for a LAMP saliva test, which does not have to be processed in a laboratory, and get the guaranteed test results within an hour.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Cathay Pacific are set to become the first airlines to offer rapid coronavirus tests, which is available only for the passengers who are departing from the UK.
The Covid-19 test will provide results more quickly than those used by Britain’s state-run National Health Service, according to the Heathrow test providers — aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport.
Passengers will be asked to register online for the test before traveling to Heathrow, which is based west of the British capital.
Collinson and Swissport described the tests as a “critical step” in the aviation sector’s recovery, “restoring traveler confidence and reopening routes from the united kingdom to the rest of the world”.
However the British government last week removed Italy from its travel corridor list, meaning travelers from the country need to quarantine on entering the united kingdom.
Passengers arriving in Britain from Italy, San Marino, and the Vatican State now need to self-isolate for 14 days, under new guidance that came into force Sunday.
Italy joined other major tourist destinations on the list, including France and Spain, because the second wave of coronavirus sweeps Europe and triggers stricter curbs on public life.
New British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle on Monday urged the united kingdom government to end the quarantining of passengers coming back from abroad in order to boost tourism and kick-start economic growth.
(With Inputs from FP)