Manchester Airport has today launched a new COVID-19 testing facility as part of the UK’s largest airport testing scheme aiming to help get Britain flying again.
The facility comes as part of a move by its parent company, Manchester Airports Group (MAG).
The announcement means the full range of COVID-19 tests – RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Antigen and Antibody – will all be available to passengers in a new, purpose-built facility just outside of the main terminal building, and will be delivered in partnership with airport services and travel medical provider, Collinson.
MAG – the UK’s largest airport group – also became the first operator to give its passengers the chance to book discounted pre-flight testing appointments on the high street at selected Boots UK stores.
According to MAG, this news means that passengers using Manchester Airport – and London Stansted and East Midlands Airports – will be “given maximum flexibility when planning their trips”.
The plans also come in the week that the UK government has lifted England’s international travel ban.
Certain governments globally allow pre-departure tests in order to shorten, or completely alleviate, quarantine requirements in the destination country.
Others require them in order to gain entry.
But having a full range of tests available now available at Manchester airport for any passenger planning to fly who does not suspect they have COVID-19, will let MAG passengers choose whichever process they need in order to meet the pre-departure testing requirements.
This will apply to many of MAG’s most popular markets, such as Spain and Italy, as well as some long-haul destinations.
Passengers will also be able to book the tests they need to shorten their self-isolation period upon return under the UK government’s Test to Release scheme – announced last week and launching on 15th December – which will allow travellers arriving from higher-risk countries to reduce their period of quarantine by taking a test five days after they arrive in the UK.
The Test to Release scheme follows in the footsteps of a number of countries who are already offering quarantine-free inbound travel to those able to provide evidence of a negative test.
As aforementioned, Boots offers an in-store RT-PCR COVID-19 testing service – which returns results within 48 hours – from more than 50 stores across the UK and is specifically for customers who do not suspect they have COVID-19.
MAG passengers will now be able to access a 5% discount through the airport’s website.
Manchester Airport testing prices through Collinson start at £40 for Antibody tests, £50 for Antigen tests, £79 for RT-LAMP tests, and £99 for RT-PCR tests.
You can find more information via the Manchester Airport website here.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Lee Rigby’s son is raising tens of thousands for charity in honour of his dad
Jack Rigby, the son of soldier Lee Rigby, is raising an absolutely huge amount of money for charity in memory of his father.
Rigby, a former Royal Fusilier who served in Afghanistan for three years, was tragically murdered by extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale outside the Woolwich Barracks in May 2013 and now, over a decade after his death, his son is hoping to raise as much as possible in his honour.
His dad was 25 when he was killed and Jack himself was only two-years-old at the time. Now 13, the inspiring young man set out on his fundraising journey earlier this year, completing a marathon on behalf of Scotty’s Little Soldiers back in May, a military bereavement charity.
Setting himself the goal of reaching the ‘Scotty’s March’ £10k target — i.e. hoping to raise a £1,000 for each year since his passing — Jack and his family have been blown after the fundraiser has already amassed over £55k in donations.
With the goalposts now being moved to £60,000 after Jack and his mum Rebecca’s efforts have led to nearly £55k in contributions to the specialised bereavement organisation to support grieving military children and young people up to the age of 25.
Writing in his post when the fundraiser was first set up, Jack said, “This year marked the 10-year anniversary, it’s never easy but this year felt even harder for some reason. To help me through this year I have been concentrating on raising funds and awareness for Scotty’s Little Soldiers…
“This [has] really helped me to concentrate on something positive at a very difficult time while helping this amazing charity“, an intitiave he has been a part ever since he was a young child, adding that he named his dog Scotty in tribute to their important work for military families across the UK.
It was only earlier this year that the teenager spoke out about his father for the first time having already smashed his fundraising target before he had even run his marathon.
As for mum, she said: “Jack was so excited to see the amount grow and seeing how much each donation made him smile meant the world to me. He and I read all the messages of support and were thankful for them all. We honestly couldn’t believe how kind and generous people were being.”
Featured Image — Gov.uk/Jack Rigby (via Scotty’s Little Soldiers)
Greater Manchester’s volunteer police officers are now trained to deal with ‘high tension’ events
Dozens of volunteer police officers across Greater Manchester are now being given public order training to deal with “high tension” events.
In case you aren’t too familiar, Public Order Public Safety (POPS) is an arm of policing that covers a wide range of events and operations that could present instances of high or increased tension, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Some events of this nature include protests, festivals, sporting events, and disorder – basically, anywhere where there may be a risk to public safety.
In order to make sure there’s more hands on deck when these situations arise, GMP has now confirmed that it’s beginning the process of training up its volunteer workforce – formally known as Police Specials, of which there are currently about 200 employed to work 16-hours each month – to be able to work such events.
This is so they know how to correctly handle and manage potentially tension-filled situations.
GMP says that around 30 Police Specials completed their level two training over four days at the police force’s specialist training centre in Openshaw this week.
This means they can now be deployed at high-profile events.
Chief Superintendent Chris Hill, who is the strategic lead at GMP, say Police Specials play an “important role” for the police force, as they often join response teams or are put to good use by providing a link between local Greater Manchester communities and GMP.
“Special constables have the same powers and look the same as regular officers,” CS Hill explained, “but the difference is they are volunteers and can have regular jobs as well.
“The specials that completed the training are now highly-trained in tactics, as well as how to use equipment including helmets and shields, and can be deployed to high-profile football matches and events or demonstrations where there is an increase in tension.
“We hope this will make joining GMP as a special a more interesting and exciting prospect.”
Mike Walmsley, who is GMP’s Chief Officer and oversees the Special Constabulary, added how great it is to see a “continued investment” in the special constables.
He continued: “Having a team trained to public order level two allows us to further support our colleagues.
“[It will also] unlock more of the potential that the Special Constabulary has.
“We have already started to map out structured learning and supplied them with laptops and, coupled with further opportunities, this will allow our officers to develop further and support in existing and new areas.”