Passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong now have the option of paying for a rapid COVID-19 test before checking in.
The test costs £80 and the result is guaranteed within an hour. By introducing the test option, Heathrow Airport hopes to help people travelling to destinations where proof of a negative result is required on arrival.
It is hoped the tests can be used on routes to Italy as well.
The authorities in Hong Kong require people to show they have a negative test result, taken within 72 hours of a flight from London. The rapid saliva swab, which is now available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, is known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test.
Heathrow say that more than 30 airports worldwide are already using testing as a safe alternative to 14 day quarantine and getting their economies moving more quickly – Frankfurt airport has overtaken Heathrow for passenger traffic, an early warning, say the airport, that Britain’s economy could fall behind if restrictions on flying aren’t eased. Heathrow has been calling for testing on arrival to be used to shorten or replace quarantine periods and encourage more people to fly.
Heathrow says it has trialled three rapid point of care testing solutions and has a facility for testing passengers on arrival. They say they are “ready to go on testing and waiting on Government to make a decision”.