Rapid Airport COVID Tests: Europe’s Goal

The green light for one of the most stringent requests from the entire tourism sector to guarantee travel to Europe finally arrived from Brussels. The means would be rapid airport COVID tests, the results could invigorate travel and the economy.

Although at the moment the European Commission has not instituted an actual rule – only announced a strong recommendation – this seems to be the first step in restarting travel and, above all, flights within the Schengen area.

The question of who will have to pay the millions of tests per day remains open, but in the meantime the EU has announced the allocation of 100 million euros to equip EU countries with tests and has allocated 35.5 million to Red Cross to help train staff and enable the organization’s mobile test teams to increase COVID-19 testing capacity across Europe.

The rapid swabs, which allow to check if a passenger is positive for the Sars-COVID virus in about 20 minutes, can be adopted as a border control tool for travelers from member countries. The European Commission has also explicitly asked all governments to put into practice a “mutual recognition” of test results so that this mechanism encourages movement and travel between countries and the tracing of cross-border contacts.

In addition, the EU has made it known that since last October 28, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) are developing a common safety protocol for air transport, valid for the whole continent and which provides for a common model of rapid airport COVID tests in airports.

The EU was very clear in its official statement on the need to use a common model: “Mutual recognition of test results is essential to facilitate cross-border circulation, contact tracing, and care.

“:Member States are strongly encouraged to mutually recognize the results of rapid antigen tests that meet the criteria set out in the recommendation and are carried out in all EU Member States by authorized operational testing facilities.

“Compliance with the recommendation can also contribute to the free movement of persons and the proper functioning of the internal market in times when the capacity to carry out tests is limited.”

A request from the tourism sector useful for the restart of trips is finally accepted. The industry, in fact, has always maintained that the implementation of rapid airport COVID tests across the continent would give impetus to European mobility with a reduced impact on costs. The airlines, of course, were the ones that pushed the most for the application of this measure.