22  July 2020
 
THE CORONA AV-DAILY
 
Welcome to the Corona AvDaily where we share relevant aviation-related links, insights and articles about the Covid-19 crisis. 
 
Highlight: Italy trials accurate "12 minute" COVID test 
 
According to media reports, a 12 minute COVID-19 test that has only shown two false results and that costs under €15 is currently being trialled in Italy with a view to it being introduced across Italian airports.
 
Made by South Korean company SD Biosensor, the kit has already been tested on 1000 people in the Veneto area.
 
The Times newspaper reports that the Veneto region wants to implement the tests for arriving passengers by the Autumn, while the Lazio Region, which includes Rome, is also looking at the tests.
 
According to a Lazio region spokesperson, "This test would be perfect at the airport - you could test 200 passengers getting off a plane at once."
 
The South Korean test sits alongside a number of cheap, quick, accurate tests in development that we outlined in our recent testing supplement. 
 
Other companies currently developing fast COVID-19 tests that  could be used in airports include Israel's Nanoscent, the UK's Biosure and Hibergene in Ireland.
 
In addition, the Canary Islands are evaluating Japanese tests from pharma company Shionogi.  These saliva based tests are being looked at in Japan as an alternative to the standard PCR tests, which need to be sent to a lab and generally take a minimum of 3-5 hours to come back.  
 
Finally, as we detailed in our last newsletter, Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport this week introduced trials of "express" testing, using suitcase sized test kits where you get the results in an hour.
 
 
 
The renewed focus on testing comes as doubts are cast over airport temperature scanners.  IT magazine Computer Weekly has called these devices "safety theatre" - mainly for show and reassurance.
 
In an open letter, the CEOs of the IAG Group, Lufthansa, American and United have urged the EU and USA to use testing as the basis for reopening trans-atlantic travel.
 
The letter was addressed to US Vice President Mike Pence and EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson, where the four industry CEOs wrote:
 
"Given the unquestioned importance of trans-Atlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the U.S. and Europe."
 
The Italian tests involve testing on arrival, but at SimpliFlying we advocate Testing Before Travel (TBT) - i.e. the tests should be administered before you check in, and this seems to be what the four CEOs are suggesting as well as a way to kick-start travel between Europe and the US.
 
It would immediately improve confidence in air travel if you know everyone on the flight has been tested.  It would also remove arguments about whether airlines are right to sell the middle seat.  
 
On a practical level, it takes away the need for people who test positive to quarantine on arrival, along with people on the flight who were sitting near a COVID-19 positive passenger. 
 
Recently we wrote about an easyJet flight to the Island of Jersey, where 20% of the flight had to isolate after one person was found to have the virus (but was asymptomatic).
 
 
Positive news story of the day
 
 
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