Rapid COVID Testing at Airport

Most Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and many have started travelling abroad. But this has brought increased risks of people bringing the virus back into the country, especially the Delta variant which is spreading rapidly in some countries

In response, the Check2Fly organisation has developed a special laboratory in Ben Gurion airport which can produce accurate PCR test results in less than an hour at a much lower cost than in other countries. Check2Fly is a project set up by Omega, a coronavirus testing company, working together with Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus.

Fast Tests lab in BBC reportThe Fast Tests lab at Ben Gurion airport (screenshot from BBC report below)

Concern over the recent increase in COVID infections has prompted Israel’s Health Ministry to postpone permission for vaccinated tourists to be allowed to enter Israel – a move that was originally planned for 1st August.

Prof Nachman Ash, Director General of the ministry, also said that the authorities are considering measures to restrict all travel in and out of Israel. He explained that with the Delta variant raging around the world, this is not a time to fly abroad.

Analysis has shown that 10 percent of recent virus cases in Israel have been people arriving from abroad. Consequently, one option being considered is to close Ben Gurion Airport for leisure trips. Another option is to require all returning passengers to self-isolate for seven days, instead of the 24-hour period currently required for those flying back from low-risk countries.

Thus, the concept behind the Check2Fly laboratory for rapid testing could become very important for future air travel.

The BBC’s Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman visited the laboratory recently. Here is his video report.