With a wait time of only 15 minutes, widespread use of the new COVID-19 antigen tests is expected to reduce social distancing that limits turnover at airports and allow ‘business as usual’ for duty-free shops and restaurants.
Sheba Medical Center has partnered with El-Al Airlines to offer free COVID-19 antigen tests for the purpose of ensuring the safety of every passenger and crew member departing from Ben-Gurion Airport. By testing every passenger and crew member with no proof of immunization before a flight, a higher level of safety can be achieved. In turn, this can facilitate reduced social distancing, which limits turnover at airports, and allow a return to ‘business as usual’ for terminal duty-free shops and restaurants.
Israeli El-Al Airlines began evaluating the new COVID-19 antigen testing system last week for passengers of its flight to JFK Airport in New York. If successful, the new protocol could become a new global standard for travel in the coronavirus era.
“This is the first time in the world you will know that you have verified that everyone onboard is clean and non-contagious for coronavirus,” said Leehu Hacohen, El-Al’s Vice President of Operations, who added: “We can then open up all of these shops and go back to the familiar experience of flight and terminal commerce.”