Dr Hilary issues warning over airport coronavirus tests: 'get realistic'

21 August 2020, 09:32

Dr Hilary has said that he isn't convinced Heathrow Airport's new coronavirus tests are as game-changing as some claim...

Dr Hilary has issued a warning to those who believe that airport coronavirus tests could replace the 14-day quarantine.

During an appearance on Good Morning Britain today, the doctor was discussing the new testing facility inside London Heathrow's Terminal 2 building, which allows those entering the UK to be tested for Covid-19. There are hopes that the test could reduce the 14-day quarantine period for some travellers.

Read more: Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago added to UK's quarantine list

However, Dr urged Brits to 'get realistic' and not be reliant on it doing so.

Dr Hilary has issued a warning to holidaymakers
Dr Hilary has issued a warning to holidaymakers. Picture: ITV

He told hosts Kate Garraway and Alex Beresford that the test might even increase the isolation period, warning that having just one test could give false negatives.

Dr Hilary said: "So everyone is getting excited about, 'Oh look, we can go on holiday and come back and we can reduce the period of quarantine, if we're asked to self-isolate, because of this new testing at airports.

"It's Terminal 2, they've got this air-side testing centre... the aviation chief is saying this will seriously reduce the amount of time people have to self-isolate for, but will it?

"Let's look at it. If people don't want to self-isolate for the 14 days when they come back from countries, they can book one online.

Read more: Primary school becomes first in England to make children's face masks mandatory

He added: "The test will cost you £150, which they will have on arrival.

"That test is done, but of course a lot of people are asymptomatic. They may have a false negative test, so a second test five to eight days later is being suggested.

"If you have a second test it will cost another £150, the second test will be five to eight days later and the test may take two days to process, so it could only save you four days from quarantine. How many people are going to do that?"

Brits returning from certain countries have to quarantine on arrival to the UK
Brits returning from certain countries have to quarantine on arrival to the UK. Picture: Getty

He continued: "I don't want to put a damper on this but I think we need to get realistic.

"If you only test on arrival, you only pick up 7 percent of people carrying Covid-19. If you do a second test then it's 85 percent of cases, and after eight days it's 96 percent.

"Eight days and a result might take two days, you're only gonna have four days and so it's not the game-changer it's being sold as and I think people need to remember that."

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