Return holiday after introduction of Covid testing at East Midlands Airport

Traveling to countries like Spain, Greece and Italy could be made easier from today after East Midlands Airport (EMA) first introduced Covid-19 testing for passengers.

Some countries served by EMA airlines require pre-departure testing to shorten or completely ease quarantine requirements on arrival.

Others require passengers to test negative to enter. This means that passengers will have maximum flexibility when planning their trips and will intervene in the week when the UK government lifts the travel ban to England.

A full range of tests, RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, rapid antigen and antibodies, will be available to all airport passengers. They will be delivered in partnership with airport services and the travel medical provider, Collinson.

The airport also offers passengers the option to book discounted pre-flight test appointments on the main street of select Boots UK stores. EMA passengers will also be able to access Boots’ in-store Covid-19 RT-PCR testing service, which returns results within 48 hours from more than 50 stores across the UK.

While cargo flights have been stepped up during the pandemic, passenger flights have been severely limited
(Image: Midlands engine)

These are specifically for customers who have no suspicion they have Covid-19 and, if booked through the EMA website, may qualify for a 5% discount.

Passengers will also be able to book the tests they need to shorten their period of self-isolation upon their return under the UK government’s Test to Release program.

Announced last week, it will launch on Tuesday December 15 and allow travelers arriving from high-risk countries to reduce their quarantine period by taking a test five days after arriving in the UK.

Test to Release is following in the footsteps of countries that already offer inbound travel without quarantine to those who are able to provide proof of a negative test.

Prices for airport testing via Collinson start at £ 40 for antibody testing, £ 50 for antigen testing, £ 79 for RT-LAMP testing and £ 99 for RT-PCR testing.

Test PCR is the most sensitive test currently available, capable of detecting active infection days before the patient becomes infectious or symptomatic.

This is the benchmark test; used in the NHS Daily. The PCR test takes about five hours, but since the tests sometimes need to be repeated, 24 hours is often given. The PCR test is performed in machines and then cycled through different temperatures. As the process of temperature change takes some time, the process takes longer than other processes such as LAMP.

Test LAMP is another form of genetic test, capable of detecting the RNA of the virus. This is a more recent development than PCR and is performed at a single temperature.

It is generally faster and cheaper than PCR but is not considered to be as sensitive – but it is still more sensitive than antigen testing. LAMP tests may be able to detect patients immediately before symptoms appear, but this is not sure at this time. Rapid LAMP tests can add a significant degree of confidence if performed pre-flight, for example, when everyone on board has undergone a pre-departure LAMP test.

Antigen test is the fastest and cheapest of all lab tests for COVID-19. Antigen tests often turn positive after having had symptoms for a few days. Their use is especially powerful when patients attend community events and a quick check should be done to see if attendees are infected with COVID-19. Also during the winter months, when people often show symptoms of the common cold or the flu, performing an antigen test will determine whether the disease is coronavirus or not.

Antibody test is a test that looks for the presence of viral antibodies in the system. The presence of antibodies indicates that the patient has had COVID-19 in the past because his body has developed the antibodies necessary to fight the virus. However, a lack of antibodies does not indicate that the person has not had COVID-19, as not all patients develop them, and there is still a lot to be known about the lifespan of antibodies in the body’s system. patient.

EMA CEO Clare James said: “ As England emerges from the international travel ban, we know our passengers are eager to get back on the plane.

“However, many of the more popular destinations that passengers depart from the EMA to require a negative test before visitors arrive in the country.

Testing the key to unlocking the travel industry
(Image: Simon Dawson / PA Wire)

“This new facility will make the pre-departure testing process as simple and economical as possible. It also means that the EMA is well positioned to support the introduction of a UK arrivals testing regime, which will allow travelers to reduce the time it takes to self-isolate if the test is negative.

“Subject to relevant tests to ensure government approval, this could free people from quarantine after just five days.

“Our aim is to make the tests available to as many passengers as possible, to allow the country to fly again as England emerges from its second lockdown.

The EMA test facility can be adapted as government travel requirements change. Its online booking portal will allow passengers to choose the right test and test location for their specific needs – whether at dedicated airport facilities or elsewhere.

David Evans, Co-Managing Director of Collinson, added: “In order to restore confidence in travel, it is essential that travelers can navigate the many testing regimes currently required by different governments around the world.

“We were the first company to install Covid-19 testing facilities at a UK airport and our partnership with MAG (which owns Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports) means these airports now have testing facilities. complete. This is a major step in opening up the UK to safe travel. ”

Passengers should always consult the latest government travel advice before taking a test.

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