Transport Secretary: Plane passengers could soon face airport tests

Plane passengers could soon face swab tests at Heathrow and other airports, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

  • Air passengers may face Covid-19 swab tests on arrival at UK airports in weeks
  • Transport Secretary is preparing trial scheme to swab travellers after customs
  • The tests provide results in hours those testing positive will be asked to isolate

An announcement on coronavirus swab tests for air passengers could be made within weeks, the Transport Secretary said yesterday.

Grant Shapps said he is speaking to airport handling firm Swissport, who are preparing a trial of a scheme which will involve travellers receiving a swab test after passing through immigration and customs.

The tests are similar to those issued by the NHS and can provide results in as little as seven hours.

Grant Shapps said he is speaking to airport handling firm Swissport, who are preparing a trial of a scheme which will involve travellers receiving a swab test after passing through immigration and customs

Passengers with positive swabs would be asked to contact the test-and-trace service and complete two weeks of self-isolation.

Asked about airport testing for passengers in the Commons yesterday, Mr Shapps said: ‘It’s very important to ensure we can provide reassurance for passengers but also do something useful with the screening beyond perhaps just what asking people to take a temperature check provides.

‘And so we are actively working with Heathrow and other airports to put exactly those types of schemes in place and I will be saying more about those in time for the following review of air corridors.’

The Swissport trials are due to take place at an airport which has yet to be named.

Asked about the scheme, Mr Shapps said: ‘I am indeed in touch with Swissport and following those trials and proposals very closely indeed and as I indicated in a question or two back we do believe it is important to provide international standards and that may well include specific types of testing.’

Passengers are pictured above being swabbed as they arrive in Beirut, Lebanon. An announcement on coronavirus swab tests for air passengers could be made within weeks, the Transport Secretary said yesterday

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