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Relief to Travellers- New Covid Test at Heathrow Airport UK to Cut Quarantine

 A new coronavirus testing programme at Heathrow Airport could avoid the need for travellers to quarantine when arriving from high-risk countries, the airport's boss has said.

Heathrow said on Wednesday (Aug 19) that a testing area was ready to open should Britain approve a rule change and allow two tests, one on arrival and one some days later, to cut the quarantine time from the current two weeks.

Under the current rules, travellers to the United Kingdom from the United States, Spain, France and many other countries must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive, deterring travel and heaping financial pressure on airlines.

Britain's health minister Matt Hancock said the government was still working with Heathrow on the plan but there were challenges in ensuring all of those infected by COVID-19 were detected.

"I'm very glad that they're making progress, but we've got to make sure that this is safe and secure because obviously that is absolutely top priority," Hancock told LBC radio.

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair have urged the government to allow quarantine to be replaced with testing, saying that Britain should follow Germany which has introduced a mandatory, free single COVID-19 test for arrivals from high risk countries.

"We believe a UK testing protocol based on the German model would stimulate significant demand whilst protecting public health," the airlines' chief executives said in a letter to the transport minister on Monday.

Aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport said more than 13,000 Covid-19 tests will be available to passengers each day, with results "within hours".

It is proposed that arrivals will then take a second test at home and will be able to leave quarantine early if they pass both.

The new facility has been set up in Terminal 2 of the west London airport - but the proposed system needs government approval to go ahead.

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