Covid testing stands up to more arrivals

TESTING arriving passengers for Covid-19 has remained on track in spite of the Island experiencing its busiest weekend for travel since borders were opened five weeks ago, a travel industry leader had said.

Part of the Covid-19 testing station at Jersey Airport (28996868)
Part of the Covid-19 testing station at Jersey Airport (28996868)

Results of almost 4,500 tests for arriving passengers were recorded between Friday and Monday, with one case of coronavirus being picked up at Elizabeth Terminal and none from air passengers.

Jersey Airport welcomed around 1,100 passengers on both Saturday and Sunday and the majority underwent testing, although children under 11 are exempt and some passengers chose the alternative option of self-isolation.

And the Airport was able to cope with a particularly busy spell on Sunday afternoon when exactly 400 passengers got off flights from Luton, Glasgow and Palma within a 35-minute period soon after 3pm.

A total of 28,786 tests were processed between 3 July, when the Island’s borders reopened, and yesterday, with 19 positive results. The average wait for test results over the previous week was 31 hours. Figures released yesterday showed no change to the total of known active cases of Covid-19 – this remained at seven, six of which resulted from ports’ testing and one from pre-admission screening for a hospital patient.

Robert Mackenzie, managing director of CI Travel Group, was among those arriving during the busy spell on Sunday. He said he was impressed with the process.

‘We were almost the last to get our luggage and so were at the back of the queue,’ he said.

‘But we still only waited for just over an hour, and it was handled smoothly, with good humour and plenty of information available. The process was very customer-focused and I was impressed by how the testing has adapted in order to meet the greater numbers of passengers, including getting the test result just over 24 hours later. There was a lot of concern about opening the borders, but we have proved that we can manage through a measured, health-led process.’

A spokesman for Ports of Jersey said that during the Sunday afternoon busy spell, a total of ten reception desks and 12 swabbing stations had been in use at the Airport.

‘The testing systems in place are going very well and the feedback we are receiving from passengers has overall been very positive,’ he said.

‘The majority of passengers are pre-registering their details prior to travelling, which quickens the process and makes for a smoother journey through the Airport upon arrival.’

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