London Heathrow unveils rapid pre-flight virus tests

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London's Heathrow airport on Tuesday began to roll out paid-for rapid coronavirus testing, with results in one hour, as it seeks to boost demand decimated by the deadly pandemic.

The LAMP saliva test, which does not have to be processed in a laboratory, will cost £80 ($102) per passenger and is available initially for passengers flying to Italy and Hong Kong from Terminals two and five.

The COVID-19 test will provide results more quickly than those used by Britain's state-run National Health Service, according to the Heathrow test providers—aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport.

Passengers will be asked to register online for the test before travelling to Heathrow, which is based west of the British capital.

Collinson and Swissport described the tests as a "critical step" in the aviation sector's recovery, "restoring traveller confidence and reopening routes from the UK to the rest of the world".

Italy and Hong Kong require passengers to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 prior to departure, a statement added.

However the British government last week removed Italy from its travel corridor list, meaning travellers from the country have to quarantine on entering the UK.

Passengers arriving in Britain from Italy, San Marino and the Vatican State now have to self-isolate for 14 days, under new guidance that came into force Sunday.

Italy joined other major tourist destinations on the list, including France and Spain, as a second wave of coronavirus sweeps Europe and triggers stricter curbs on public life.

New British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle on Monday urged the UK government to end the quarantining of passengers arriving from abroad in order to boost tourism and kick-start economic growth.

© 2020 AFP

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