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The first Covid testing is now available for passengers travelling out of Heathrow airport and it could provide a much needed boost for those wishing to travel in the weeks and months ahead.
Available for passengers flying to Hong Kong from the London hub, the test provides a result within 60 minutes and allows passengers to visit destinations where a negative Covid result is needed upon arrival.
With a growing number of countries around the world telling individuals to test before travelling, the £80 test could significantly increase the number of places they can visit.
The new tests are available from Heathrow Terminal 2 and 5 for those flying with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic on the London to Hong Kong route.
Airlines are said to be exploring their options to see if the costs can be reduced further, with lower outlays more likely to tempt people into travelling.
It is hoped that if people test negative before flying, it will boost the confidence among those on board and encourage more people to return to air travel and visit more far-flung destinations.
Known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test, it requires a saliva swab and is capable of providing results without requiring a laboratory.
The company behind it, Collinson, recognises that it may not be as sensitive as the PCR test – used by the NHS – but it does provide better results than antigen testing, which is another quick testing option available.
Several countries, including Italy, now require arrivals to have a negative coronavirus test, which can be taken prior to departure or at the airport upon landing.
If taken before travelling, these tests must usually be done a maximum of 72 hours beforehand, which means the new testing could significantly enhance the arrivals process.
However, other countries require a negative PCR test, so the new option would not provide a solution to travellers visiting those destinations, unless countries alter their rules to allow on the spot testing – such as the Lamp test – instead.
It’s important to note that the new testing is currently only for those departing the UK, although the government is exploring the options for arrivals too – a move that could reduce or remove the need for quarantine upon returning to the UK.
Date Created: 23/10/2020