France to deploy airport tests this month – Minister

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PARIS, October 16 (Reuters) – France will introduce rapid COVID-19 tests at airports this month, the country’s transport minister said on Friday, in order to give Air France-KLM a boost and ‘other airlines pushing for a relaxation of travel restrictions and quarantines.

“We will put this in place by the end of October,” Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told CNews television.

Airlines represented by their global industry body IATA are pushing for rapid antigen tests to be administered to all international passengers departing at airports. These tests are slightly less accurate than laboratory PCR alternatives, but allow for last minute screening.

Measures will only become effective in reviving the air traffic collapse when the system is widely used and accepted by governments as a substitute for the lengthy quarantine requirements that discourage travel.

France will initially offer the testing to passengers to destinations such as the United States and Italy, Djebbari said, as well as to arrivals from countries on its coronavirus red list where infection rates are high.

Tests could start as early as next week at Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, La Tribune newspaper reported on its website.

Reporting by Laurence Frost; edited by Philippa Fletcher

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