Coronavirus: Heathrow boss reveals future of travel could include immunity passports

The head of Heathrow has backed “immunity passports” being rolled out to let people jet off on holiday sooner.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of the busiest airport in Britain, said the documents could be issued to people who have already had coronavirus.

But he said there should be a universal system set up “so that we know your health passport is accepted in the country you’re going to”.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport, speaks at the British Chambers of Commerce  conference in London on February 28, 2017.  / AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS        (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

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John Holland-Kaye wants flights to commence again between ‘low-risk countries’

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Holland-Kaye urged for flights to start again between “low-risk” countries to rebuild the economy, particularly in sectors hit so hard by the COIVD-19 outbreak like tourism and aviation.

And he described how thermal imaging measures are being rolled out at Heathrow’s Terminal two from next week to screen people coming into the country.

“We are working with Public Health England to see if that could be part of the solution to health screening at airports,” Mr Holland-Kaye told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday show.

With passenger numbers plunging 97%, from an average of 250,000 a day to between 5,000 and 6,000, Mr Holland-Kaye warned: “This is a very minimal level of traffic and I think that as long as the quarantine is in place, that will continue at those low levels.

People are seen sleeping at Heathrow airport

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Heathrow has seen a 97% drop in passengers

“The quarantine cannot be in place for more than a relatively short amount of time if we are going to get the economy moving again.

“This is where we are urging the government to have a common international standard, working with other countries so that traffic can start to flow in a normal way between low-risk countries.”

With passenger numbers plunging 97%, from an average of 250,000 a day to between 5,000 and 6,000, Mr Holland-Kaye warned: “This is a very minimal level of traffic and I think that as long as the quarantine is in place, that will continue at those low levels.

“The quarantine cannot be in place for more than a relatively short amount of time if we are going to get the economy moving again.

“This is where we are urging the government to have a common international standard, working with other countries so that traffic can start to flow in a normal way between low-risk countries.”

Passport control

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Anyone arriving in the UK could face having to go into quarantine for two weeks

Ministers are planning to tell anyone arriving in the UK to quarantine for two weeks and download the new “test, track and trace” app currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight but soon to be rolled out across the country.

It is hoped the measure will stop a second peak of the virus, which has already killed at least 33,000 people in the UK.

Mr Holland-Kaye also welcomed the immunity passports idea, which has been suggested as a way to ease lockdown quicker for those who recover from COVID-19 and develop antibodies that could afford some immunity – but scientists are not sure how much and for how long.

“It’s no good the UK having a health passport if another country has an entirely different system,” he explained.

“We need to have that commonality between markets so that we know your health passport is accepted in the country you’re going to.”

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