Airport testing at Heathrow to be launched next month putting end to 14-day quarantine

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Holidays could soon be hassle-free with airport testing potentially being put in place at Heathrow Airport next month, according to the government. The airport testing could also see flights to New York “up and running” by the end of November ready for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The COVID-19 test would cost travellers £150 and would be taken on their departure with another one five to seven days later.

This could potentially shorten the current quarantine period in place for people returning to the UK from certain destinations.

Britons returning to the UK from certain countries such as France and Spain are required to quarantine for 14 days on their arrival back into the country.

The quarantine list is currently being reviewed on a weekly basis which is causing chaos for keen travellers.

CEO of London Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, told Travel Weekly: “We’ve heard from the Prime Minister that he hopes to go to a trial in the second half of October.

“It would take a couple of weeks to put into practice.”

He added: “If we get good results, there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to extend it.

“It’s possible that in the first or second quarter of next year, we see ‘rapid point of care’ tests become more normal.”

He also said that coronavirus testing on routes between London and New York by later this year would be “entirely feasible”.

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He also said he thinks demand for the route would be “enormous”.

A senior airline source revealed that if a decision is made next month then a trial could be in place by November.

They also said that airport testing would have to work with the government’s test-and-trace system too.

Mr Holland-Kaye later told The Telegraph: “Testing is the lifeline that the UK’s aviation sector needs to get back on its feet.

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“We’ve put some of the most cutting-edge rapid testing technologies into action at Heathrow to see which offers the best solution.

“If we can find a test that is accurate, gets a result within a matter of minutes, is cost-effective and gets the government green light, we could have the potential to introduce wide-scale testing at the airport.

“Without this, our first-class aviation sector risks becoming second class, giving Britain’s competitive advantage to others.”

Currently, the UK has a travel corridor list in place with countries included exempt from the quarantine rules.

The countries on the list are deemed safe enough for Britons to travel to based on their epidemiological data.

Many Britons’ favourite destinations have been removed from the travel corridor list after recording a spike in coronavirus cases.

The introduction of airport testing would allow Britons to travel freely and not have to take weeks off of work to quarantine on their return to the UK.

Airport testing would also halt the transmission of coronavirus from overseas.

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