Liverpool John Lennon Airport gets ‘state of the art’ COVID-19 rapid testing on site

Liverpool John Lennon Airport has become the first airport in the UK to get ‘state of the art’ COVID-19 PCR testing on site.

The testing centre at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport has become the first airport in the UK to get ‘state of the art’ COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on site.

The testing will allow passengers to access a rapid ‘fit to fly’ testing service with a three-hour turnaround time, alongside a standard 24-hour service.

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Why it matters

Cliff Kirby, Director of Liverpool-based Test Assurance Group (TAG), one of the partners in the testing service, said the system should help eradicate “horror stories” of lost and damaged test results.

A number of destination countries require travellers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country and the airport’s service will aid this process, irrespective of any change to the current rules in the UK.

Kirby told LiverpoolWorld: “This is an end-to-end solution, booked through a digital system. Healthcare professionals will be doing the swabs so the chances of not getting the swab right are very small and this should offer the public reassurance.

“The debates will be ongoing about testing and reporting mandates may change, but what we do know is that testing will be needed for the foreseeable future.

“Some countries require tests to travel irrespective of vaccination status and even if you are double jabbed.”

A look inside the the lab at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Kirby said TAG is also working with healthcare providers to the NHS to recreate a ‘mini-version’ of the airport system which could be rolled out across England, allowing the public access to a rapid and private PCR COVID-19 tests.

Liverpool leading the way

Liverpool John Lennon Airport Commercial Director, Lucy O’Shaughnessy, said: “We are delighted to be the first airport in the UK to have such a unique facility and service.

“Liverpool John Lennon Airport can now provide our valued airline passengers with a state-of-the-art COVID testing facility on site here at the airport as we start to resume our flight schedules and have more passengers flying again.

“The airport continually strives to offer the best possible service for our customers at all times. Working in partnership with Test Assurance Group (TAG) / Salutaris People and Source BioScience enables us to offer a convenient and efficient PCR testing service operated by trusted healthcare providers.”

Traffic light system for travel

The UK operates a traffic light system for travel, which was introduced earlier this year. It divides countries into green, amber and red lists, based on the coronavirus risk in each location, with different rules applying to each.

For green listed countries, arrivals need to take a pre-departure COVID test, as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK.

However, travellers will not need to quarantine, or take any additional tests, unless they receive a positive result.

As of 19 July, children and adult arrivals from amber list countries who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus do not have to quarantine on their return to England. They do still have to book and take a day two test, and isolate should they receive a positive result.

Arrivals from red list countries must stay in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days, take a pre-departure COVID-19 test and a PCR test on or before day two, and on or after day eight.

Travellers can only enter the UK from red list countries if they are British or Irish National, or have UK residence rights.

Since August 2, fully vaccinated travellers from the US and European Union have no longer had to self-isolate when arriving in the UK from an amber list country. The rule change was announced as the government said it would help to reunite family and friends.