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Rapid Covid testing service launched

Birmingham Airport has launched a free of charge rapid testing service for all on-site employees to support the national drive to identify any positive cases of the virus in the workplace as part of its on-going work to protect customers and employees from COVID-19.

Working with Solihull Council who have trained airport personnel to set up and carry out quality assured testing, the airport has created a booking platform and dedicated testing centres for staff to carry out regular testing while working on site.

The aim of this fast and efficient service is to find workers that may be carrying the virus but are showing no symptoms, ensuring that any staff who test positive can rapidly self-isolate to reduce the spread of the virus. Results are sent directly to the employee from the NHS Test and Trace service within 30 minutes of taking the test.

The service has been launched as the airport prepares to welcome back employees and passengers once if it safe to gradually ease travel restrictions.

Al Titterington, the airport’s terminal operations director, said: “Birmingham Airport is crucial to the region’s air transport needs, and as we prepare to restart the operation, testing will play an incredibly important role in our collective recovery.

“By offering lateral flow tests to all who work at the airport, we can increase the chances of finding asymptomatic cases to protect our passengers, employees and partners, and create the right conditions and reassurance to serve customers once restrictions are eased. I would like to thank Solihull Council, who have provided invaluable support and expertise in setting up the service.”

Birmingham Airport has already made significant changes to its infrastructure to create a COVID-secure environment, in line with Government guidance. This includes the provision of hand sanitiser units throughout the site, perspex screens at customer touchpoints, social distancing markers and signage, and an enhanced cleaning regime, using safe, anti-viral, mist treatment. It is also mandatory to wear a face covering in airport buildings and buses.

Councillor Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: “It’s great to see workplace testing being rolled out by the airport. The airport is a key economic asset within Solihull and so it is important to support this as national restrictions begin to ease. Our local public health team have worked closely with Birmingham Airport to launch this testing regime for their staff and onsite partners.

“As we start carefully on the road to reopening, it’s important that businesses and workplaces encourage regular testing for their employees to identify positive cases quickly.  Businesses can do this by applying via the national workplace testing scheme or signposting staff to our free, quality assured and hassle free community testing sites or by getting in touch with the council directly for advice on how we can support them as we have with Birmingham Airport.”

Any employees showing signs of COVID will continue to follow rigorous procedures and be checked through NHS Test and Trace NHS and follow strict self-isolation.

The employee testing service compliments the airport’s onsite passenger testing service, delivered by ExpressTest. Located in the terminal building, this is a paid for service for those needing to prove a negative PCR or antigen COVID test and relevant ‘fit to fly’ certificate, which is required by many destinations the airport serves before arrival.

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