David Evans, Joint CEO at Collinson – an aviation services company working together with Heathrow and the logistics firm Swissport – said in a statement on 19 August that a new facility has been created in Heathrow Terminal 2.
"This T2 facility can process a volume of 13,000 tests a day, which can scale further with demand. We know the logistics work needed and are ready to go with the tests. All we need now is Government buy-in that those with negative tests will be released early from quarantine.”
Evans also said in an interview that the price for the test is £150, paid fully by the passengers. If the operation scales up, the price “may come down in the future,” he added.
Proposed #COVID19 tests for passengers travelling through Heathrow will cost £150, Collinson's chief executive tells Sky News.— SkyNews (@SkyNews) August 19, 2020
David Evans says the price may come down with increased testing, and that he is confident the tests are reliable.
Read more: https://t.co/oKLxyMnK9a pic.twitter.com/vu591IGKrX
Following testing upon arrival in Heathrow, passengers would then undergo a secondary confirmatory test a few days after the initial check.
Reacting to the announcement and the price tag on the Covid-19 test kit, Twitter users fumed about the expensive solution to the 14-day quarantine many have to undergo upon their arrival to Britain.
Some even noted that the test could be more expensive than the flight.
So £600 for a family of four? Yet another example of rip-off Britain. They're free in Germany.— Christopher Bates (@chris_bates1974) August 19, 2020
UK public health service offers free testing for people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if they:
- (for yourself) have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste);
- for someone you live with, if they have symptoms;
- if you live in England and have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery;
- if your local council asks you to get a test.
The testing procedure offered by Heathrow will see Collinson nurses on site to assist in taking a swab within the facility, “which will then be Swissport staff to a specifically dedicated Collinson biotech lab near Heathrow. The tests will be transported using the same protocols as the NHS uses for home swab tests.”
We think £150 is far too expensive for tourists & especially Britons returning home. There needs to be a better cost effective system in place. Tests are available 'free' from the NHS direct, which travellers could be mandated to apply for on return home. Let's get a govt U turn.— Tourist Guide Hub (@touristguidehub) August 19, 2020
"Testing will not only avoid the 'quarantine roulette' that so many passengers faced in Spain and France, it will also open up flights to key trading partners such as the US, Canada and Singapore. The government’s own research shows that a double test has a high level of accuracy in screening for COVID. This facility is an oven-ready opportunity to see how Britain can safely reopen for business, as other countries are doing,” Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said.
That won't work, when a test is more expensive than a flight.. 🙄— Alex (@VOD88056105) August 19, 2020
Last month, Holland-Kaye called on the UK government to consider alternatives to the 14-day quarantine rule.
Provided Downing Street grants its support, the pilot of the new testing procedure could be available as a private service to anyone with a flight landing in Heathrow Terminal 2, and within a few weeks for those arriving in Terminal 5, according to the latest statement.