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Bristol Airport boss calls for compulsory Covid testing

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  • Coronavirus pandemic
image captionDave Lees says additional testing would increase confidence for airline passengers

The boss of Bristol Airport has called for all airline passengers in the UK to be tested for coronavirus to improve safety and protect aviation jobs.

Chief executive Dave Lees said such a move would give people and businesses more confidence to travel by plane.

Mr Lees said: "We want to have testing on arrival and that could be supplemented by testing on departure."

The Department for Transport has said work on testing was "ongoing" with clinicians and health experts.

People coming to England from many holiday destinations, including Spain, France, and parts of Greece and Portugal, currently have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Mr Lees said "a series of tests rather than a blanket quarantine" was more appropriate as there was no certainty of knowing how many people were adhering to self-isolation rules.

Since travel restrictions were eased in July, Bristol Airport now sees about 10,000 passengers a day, about 25% of what it normally would be at this time of year.

Mr Lees said he had lobbied government to pilot a testing scheme several times and was awaiting a response.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "The government recognises the impact that coronavirus is having on the economy and workers, and has put together an extensive package of financial support to help the aviation sector, including Bristol Airport.

"Work is ongoing with clinicians and health experts on the practicalities of using testing to reduce the self-isolation period for international arrivals."

Previously, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he thought routine testing at airports would not pick up the majority of positive cases.

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