Covid-19 airport testing: Company claims it can tests thousands every day

Testing is available for essential workers and industries at present, not holidays. 
Covid-19 airport testing: Company claims it can tests thousands every day

Tester Samantha Jakstonyte pictured with Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, Cork Airport at a RocDoc drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre at Cork Airport. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Cork and Shannon airports are hoping new onsite testing near their terminals will be the first step in normalising travel across the EU -- with the healthcare firm behind it saying it can test thousands per day if necessary. 

Managing director of Cork Airport, Niall MacCarthy, was the first person to be tested under Irish healthcare firm RocDoc's new facility, which they claim can test up to 30 people every hour in each of the three bays onsite.

RocDoc will provide the tests for passengers flying out of Cork and Shannon airports in accordance with the EU's traffic light system through their portal at covidcheck.ie, with its PCR test certification allowing travellers to be able to move freely once they arrive at their destination.

RocDoc provides Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) approved CE marked tests using PCR and LAMP technology, ranging from €129 to €199 per test. 

Results from RocDoc’s tests using the LAMP method are available within just a few hours, but current Government guidelines only recognise PCR testing for foreign travel. LAMP approval is currently being negotiated.

Down the road 

RocDoc chief executive David Rock said Cork Airport would have between 30 and 40 people onsite, and that testing could be ramped up if the demand was there, and health chiefs and the Government deemed it safe. It can currently test between 25 and 30 people in each bay per hour.

"It is not open for holidays at the moment. Hopefully down the road we can get to that point. At the moment is is for essential workers and industries," he said.

However, it is gearing up to be ready for Christmas travel if the situation was deemed safe, Mr Rock added.

"We have looked a number of tracking models to see what the landscape may look like next month. We are not 100% sure how it will go, it is really down to Government and the HSE to decide what is safe in this country. 

All we can do is react to the requirements and have enough swabbing staff to be able to have a peak if it is safe.

Essential workers and industry have already begun booking at Cork and Shannon, according to RocDoc.

Mr Rock said: "Workforces still need to work during the pandemic. There is manufacturing that still needs to occur. 

One of the problems they were having is that there was no private testing facility for some of these. 

That is where RocDoc stepped in, to try and assist with that."

Mr MacCarthy said it was a lifeline for Cork Airport and the wider industry.

"The aviation sector urgently needs a clear pathway to recovery. The pandemic continues to pose a huge problem for the aviation industry. Airports and airlines alike hope that widespread testing will give passengers greater confidence to travel. 

"Passengers flying from Cork Airport can now get a test in advance of travel to prove they have tested negative for Covid-19 for any health authorities that require it for Irish originating traffic.”

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