Coronavirus: Rapid one-hour tests now available for Italy and Hong Kong passengers at Heathrow

Passengers flying from Heathrow to Italy and Hong Kong will now be able to get a coronavirus test at the airport with results in just one hour.

From Tuesday, people flying to the two destinations will be able to book a private test online for £80.

The ‘LAMP’ tests will be carried out at Terminals 2 and 5 – and are quicker to process than the NHS PCR ones as they do not require samples to be sent off to a laboratory.

Airport bosses say they will expand to antigen testing in the coming weeks, but did not reveal if other countries would be added to the scheme.

Both Italy and Hong Kong currently require all UK passengers to provide a negative coronavirus test result before they are allowed in.

It comes after Heathrow revealed a large test-on-arrival facility for passengers returning to the UK in August.

The testing centre is still empty because the government is yet to approve its use, which would mean Britons could reduce mandatory 14-day quarantine periods to between five and eight days.

Heathrow’s new rapid testing centre is being backed by the same firms as the previous one.

Aviation services company Collinson and logistics firm Swissport described the new pre-departure testing regime as a “crucial next step toward keeping the travel industry moving while limiting the spread of the virus”.

Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “These facilities will make it easier for passengers going to those countries to get a test and have the potential to provide a service for arriving passengers.

“Ultimately, we need a common international standard for pre-departure testing, and we welcome the UK government’s recent announcement that it wants to take a global lead in establishing this.

“We will work with them to make this happen as soon as possible, so that we protect livelihoods as well as lives.”

David Evans, joint chief executive officer at Collinson, added: “With countries around the world adding the UK to their list of high-risk countries, we need to find a way to work with governments, leading travel brands and other commercial entities to safely open up travel out of the UK.”

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