Heathrow COVID-19 Update
health checks and measures for passengers
(courtesy of the External Affairs Team, Heathrow)
Throughout the current crisis, Heathrow has remained open, providing a crucial role in ensuring critical medical supplies can be brought into the country to support the NHS and working with Government to bring British citizens home.
We are supporting the work of Public Health England in carrying out any health checks they feel are appropriate and ensuring that we comply with all their advice to provide a safe environment for passengers and colleagues.
You will be aware that other countries have a different strategy for health screening to that of the UK, and that there has been concern over the lack of visible health screening by PHE at Heathrow, especially when compared to the measures used in some other countries.
As an island nation and a trading nation, the UK economy is hugely dependent on aviation for tourism, for exports and for FDI and so it is critical that we are seen as a safe country to travel through.
We have recently called for a Common International Standard for health checks at airports to help the UK economy recover from this crisis, just as there is for aviation security. This will be crucial to maintaining public confidence in aviation as a safe mode of travel, will make it easier for British exporters to trade internationally and easier for tourists and students to come to the UK without the risk of quarantine when they return home.
As a global hub airport, Heathrow will need to adopt the highest international standards, even if that takes us beyond those required by the UK Government. However, we believe that the UK Government could provide a lead in defining that Common International Standard, as they have done with security standards.
Our priority is always to ensure the safety of both our passengers and colleagues. We also need to give people the confidence to travel so that the aviation industry and global economies can start to recover.
We are already working with the aviation industry and regulators both here and in other countries to establish the need for a common standard, and what that might involve. These could include enhanced cleaning regimes, health passports, health screening at entry points or development of technology that will reduce person to person contact throughout the passenger’s journey.
It’s too early to say what the outcomes could be, but our view is that any measures agreed, must meet three criteria:
1. It must be medically effective
2. It must be something that meets the expectations of the public in terms of safety, security, and convenience
3. It must be something that airports can implement and deliver