Compulsory virus testing suggested for airline passengers

Virus tests for airline passengers 48 hours before departure should be compulsory once lockdown is lifted, the boss of Gatwick has suggested.

Travellers should also be required to carry ‘health passports’ to prove they are clear of coronavirus and wear face covers on flights.

The proposals by airport chief executive Stewart Wingate come as the Department for Transport reportedly considers proposals that would allow people to resume travelling.

A ‘restart and recovery’ group of civil servants and aviation industry leaders has been set up to examine measures to allow global air travel to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Wingate told The Times ministers are considering whether tests, if required, should be carried out at airports or in communities.

“For example, would it be better for a passenger to arrive at airport with some sort of certification that said ‘I have been checked over the last 48 hours and I am Covid-free’?”, he said.

The working group should also consider ‘health passports’ to log passenger fitness to fly.

Wingate added: “Passengers increasingly are travelling wearing facial coverings and I am sure that’s something that the government team will be considering.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said on Friday that measures to screen passengers arriving at UK airports will remain “under review”.

The European Union may also be considering post-pandemic travel restrictions.

Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis has said tourists will still be able to take summer holidays in the country providing the 27 members agree specific protocols for international travel.

The holiday season could resume in July and continue until October or November, he told the BBC on Thursday.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has indicated the bloc will find ‘smart solutions’ to allow summer holidays.

She told Portuguese publication Expresso Sunday vacations may be a “little different, with other hygiene measures, with a little more social distance,” but that solutions will be found.

She has previously warned in an interview with German newspaper Bild that it was hard to make reliable forecasts for holidays in July and August.


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