There was a great deal of coverage over the last two days regarding airport testing to ensure air bridges operate effectively. It is hugely disappointing to have yet another Cabinet Minister dismiss this approach: Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC that coronavirus testing at airports was not a “silver bullet” to stop the need for quarantine because the virus could develop over time.
In our and many others’ opinions, this is a ridiculous position to take. Why bother testing anybody at any stage? If the Culture Secretary would consider rapid testing as a means to get more people into stadia and theatres then, perhaps, the industry for which he is accountable might be able to recover…
It is very clear that the countries that have more effectively contained the virus – such as Singapore and Korea – have done so because they have an effective track and trace protocol. Frankly, the UK Government is failing miserably in this regard. It is ignoring solutions, such as the one offered byTravelSafe Systems. This solution can not only be implemented now but provides the most accurate point of test available, delivering the result within 40 minutes.
We agree with the CEO of London Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, that testing on arrival and perhaps a few days later would be a sensible approach but we would go further. Our view is that nobody should be entering an airport – passengers, staff and air crew -without a negative test and this must be adopted as a global standard.
We have been campaigning for this approach for some time and at last other leaders are beginning to see the sense of it: Dr Hans Kluge, Europe Regional Director for the World Health Organization, endorsed testing at airports as part of general attempts to track the movement of coronavirus.
Many of our posts talk to a protocol of testing on departure, on a global basis, as the best way to contain the virus; to track it, to trace it, to eliminate it. The airline networks are highly interconnected and there is no hope for the global hubs to operate unless such an approach is utilised.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the sector, prior to the virus, represented 10.3% of global GDP, creating 1 in 10 jobs around the world. In some countries, the GPR of the visitor economy is much greater.
The industry is being systematically destroyed – the only way to stimulate a powerful recovery is to adopt a global standard and approach to airport departure testing.