The way countries are handling the incoming risk and threat of COVID-19 that comes with international airport arrivals varies greatly. While most countries may now have instituted temperature screenings and perhaps a medical questionnaire for asymptomatic arrivals, others are going a step further and have coronavirus testing onsite for all or for at-risk groups. Here is a list of countries that have COVID-19 testing performed on arrival.
1. Vienna, Austria
Announced at the start of May, Vienna Airport is offering onsite coronavirus testing. This will enable eligible passengers arriving through Austria’s main airport to avoid a government-imposed 14-day quarantine.
Before this, all passengers arriving at Vienna Airport would have had to present a medical certificate not older than four days confirming negative COVID-19 test findings, or else begin the 14-day quarantine.
The results of this test are available within a period of two to three hours, delivered by a third-party by the name of Confidence DNA Analysten GmbH. The cost of a test is €190, or roughly $209. For travelers departing Vienna, the test is useful in that the results can demonstrate a virus-free status at their destination.
In Japan, for those still able to enter the country amid selective travel restrictions, many will have to undergo testing at the airport upon arrival. This applies to anyone that has recently been to one of the countries on Japan’s watchlist.
3. Seoul Incheon, South Korea
The Korea Herald reported that the country has been operating “walk-through” testing facilities for coronavirus at Incheon International Airport since late March. Up to 2,000 people per day can be tested for COVID-19 via 16 open-air testing booths installed in five locations at the airport’s two terminals. This equates to roughly one person tested every five minutes.
The testing appears to be more selective based on a number of factors. Mostly, foreigners flying from Europe and the United States that show no symptoms will be tested. However, arrivals with symptoms, regardless of nationality, will be separated and tested for the virus at quarantine facilities set up inside the airport.
4. Hong Kong
All asymptomatic inbound travelers arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport are required to submit a “deep throat saliva sample” for COVID-19 testing. This is undertaken at the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre of the Department of Health located at the AsiaWorld-Expo – a site situated on the edge of the airport-island. Arrivals are required to wait for test results at a designated location before entirely leaving the airport.
5. Keflavik, Iceland
Iceland announced in mid-May that it plans to implement coronavirus testing for all arriving air passengers at the country’s only international airport by June 15th at the latest. The tests will be carried out at Keflavík International Airport (KEF) and will determine whether or not visitors to the North Atlantic Island will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The plan is for the country to re-open to tourism on June 15th.
On Saturday, Greece said it will conduct select coronavirus testing on visitors arriving from airports deemed high-risk by the EASA as it hopes to re-open the country to tourism on June 15.
“If you originate from an airport on the EASA affected area list, then you will be tested upon arrival,” -Greece ministry of foreign affairs
The National Post notes that visitors arriving from other areas will be tested at random upon arrival.
Just because these airports are testing, doesn’t mean they are open for arrivals from anywhere in the world. The majority of these countries still have strict limitations on who can enter at this time. For example, entry into Austria is still prohibited for citizens coming from countries outside the Schengen Area. Hong Kong is only allowing its residents to enter.
South Korea seems to be slightly more open to international arrivals. According to its tourism website, international visitors will have to undergo a combination of testing and quarantine upon arrival. There is no explicit mention of a strict ban against any particular country.
Lastly, Iceland seems to be rolling out its airport coronavirus testing specifically for tourism. Something that some countries may be eagerly observing and considering for themselves in the weeks and months to come.
Did we miss any countries? Let us know in the comments.