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Coronavirus: Belfast International to introduce rapid tests for passengers

By Richard Morgan
BBC News NI business reporter

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image captionThe new facility is located at the airport and tests have to be booked online in advance

Belfast International Airport is to introduce Covid-19 testing for people who need it before making essential journeys.

The airport is working with Randox to provide the rapid PCR tests, which cost £99 and results are back the next day.

Several countries now require a negative coronavirus result before granting entry.

Graham Keddie, the airport's managing director, said testing would help the sector recover from coronavirus.

"Many destinations now require passengers, who have to travel for essential reasons, to have a negative PCR Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before arrival.

"It is essential that we are able to introduce these measures as testing will help protect travellers and staff, and provide an increased level of confidence for those travelling when current lockdown restrictions ease.

"In the long run it should help assist in the recovery of the aviation and travel sector, however it is only a start and we need more to be done in terms of both the vaccine and testing."

Swabs will be taken by trained individuals, which the airport said would decrease the likelihood of an inconclusive result.

They are then taken to Randox's nearby laboratory with results "turned around quickly".

The new facility is located at the airport and tests have to be booked online in advance.

Passengers can receive their certified results the next day via email.

Sophie Boyd, project manager for the Randox Express Covid-19 testing service, said the company had worked to ensure the PCR test was as easy as possible for passengers.

"It's great to be able to provide this service to the airport and help support them in getting people back in the air when they are able to do so," she said.

PCR tests are seen as the "gold standard" because of their high level of accuracy, but the results must be analysed in a lab, meaning they can take a day or more to come back.

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