THE boss of Heathrow airport wants passengers to be tested for coronavirus when they arrive home in a bid to save our summer vacation.
John Holland-Kaye believes the tests could be up and running in just two weeks – meaning some holidaymakers who have just arrived in the UK might not have to quarantine for the full 14 days.
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The Heathrow chief told the Daily Telegraph he believes the new system could be in place by August, with tests priced at £ 150 a pop.
According to plans, people returning to the UK would be tested upon arrival home.
If their result was negative, they would be tested again five or eight days later.
A second negative test would allow the person to leave quarantine between six and nine days earlier, depending on how quickly the test is processed.
Mr Holland-Kaye said: “We have to find a way to reopen the ‘red countries’.
“Testing is the only viable way to do it in the absence of a vaccine.
“Many of the Red List countries have millions of people who do not have the disease and cannot travel.
“It slows down economic recovery. ”
Some 20 countries – including France and Germany – are among those that already have such tests underway, as officials aim to cut the time people returning from high-risk countries must isolate.
Jersey is also testing arriving passengers, and bosses say there hasn’t been a single false negative yet.
It is understood that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is in favor of a test at Heathrow.
Mr. Holland-Kaye said: “I think we can go fast.
“There is a real urgency to do it.
“If we can put something in place in two weeks, then the people going to Spain today could [be tested] on the way back. ”
But despite the proposal, the government has warned potential vacationers to expect more rapid fire quarantines.
It comes after Britons on a sunny break in Spain suddenly told each other on Sunday that they had to self-isolate for 14 days when they returned home.
The decision was extended on Tuesday to the country’s Balearic and Canary Islands, where the number of cases is lower.
And it has now been revealed that travelers in Belgium and Luxembourg may be quarantined from today.
Ministers are also monitoring Croatia closely.
But Mr Holland-Kaye says Heathrow could quickly roll out tests to avoid further disruption.
The airport is offering to test a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, similar to that of the NHS.
It would take a nose and throat swab or saliva sample and produce a result between five and 24 hours.
Due to the risk that it would not detect Covid-19 in pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic passengers on arrival, it would be repeated five or eight days after the first test.
This covers the time scientists estimate it takes for the virus to incubate, during which time those infected may not show symptoms, but can still spread it in the community.
And Mr Holland-Kaye believes those traveling from “red list” countries might even take a test 72 hours before their flight, followed by a second test two days after landing.
That would mean the quarantine could be reduced to just two days for those who test negative.
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However, it was reported tonight that Boris Johnson believes a second wave of coronavirus will hit the UK in just two weeks as cases skyrocket in Europe.
Meanwhile, France has warned that progress in the fight against the coronavirus has been ‘wiped out’, with health ministry officials saying: ‘We are back to levels comparable to those at the end of the lockdown period. .
“We have thus erased a good part of the progress made in the first weeks since the lockout was lifted. ”