Heathrow introduces COVID-19 testing pilot among employees

 Monday, February 1, 2021 

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Heathrow has recently started working with NHS to deliver rapid lateral flow tests to employees as it seeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the airport. The scheme has been designed to support measures already in place to keep the airport COVID-secure, and helps stop the spread of the new more contagious strain of the virus as well as to provide valuable insight into how rapid testing can be more widely deployed across Britain to keep vital services such as critical national infrastructure running. 


This pilot will help to understand how routine testing might be useful to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the airport’s workforce. These devices can provide test results in as little as 20 minutes and the short turnaround time will make it quicker and easier to identify and isolate positive cases. The government-led pilot will take place over four weeks initially and will involve around 2,000 Heathrow employees.


John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive, Heathrow said in a statement that the airline is pleased to be working with the government on the pilot testing scheme which goes even further to protect colleagues and the other key workers who are keeping the country moving through the crisis. He mentioned that the pilot will support the airline as it works to keep the U.K.’s biggest port running smoothly, while helping to facilitate essential journeys and the movement of cargo.


Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair, National Institute for Health Protection added that with over 62 million tests processed and more than seven million people contact-traced since its creation nine months ago, NHS Test & Trace played a vital role in the fight against COVID-19. He shared that the pilot is one of many which will inform the understanding of how rapid asymptomatic testing can be operationalised in the real world; to protect those at high risk, find the virus and help people go back to as normal a way of life as possible.

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