Edmonton International Airport (EIA) in Canada has launched a Covid-19 screening pilot programme for front-line airport workers, preparing for the subsequent increase in travel.

The airport has partnered with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and mobile medical service provider Numi Health for introducing this initiative under its EIA Ready programme.

Numi’s team will administer rapid antigen tests, which will require less than 30 minutes.

The pilot programme will continue for eight weeks, conducting nearly 500 screening tests in a week.

Government of Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said: “We are proud to help support this new pilot programme by providing 4,000 free rapid tests through Alberta’s rapid testing programme. I want to thank the Edmonton International Airport for their leadership and continued efforts to protect staff and help reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.”

As of now, the screening is optional for front-line airport employees and is not available to travellers or the public.

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The programme has been designed for asymptomatic employees interacting directly with the public, including carrier personnel and tenant staff.

Numi Health founder and CEO Peter Verburg said: “We are proud to support the EIA Ready programme with rapid antigen Covid-19 testing. Our team of experienced health professionals run an efficient and patient-centric programme that will empower EIA employees to take control of their personal health so that they can feel safe working on the front lines.”

EIA president and CEO Tom Ruth said: “Health and safety are our top priorities, and this is an evolution of our rigorous Covid-19 protocols to have the safest facility we can. Air travel is often a necessity and not a luxury in our community and we want passengers to feel comfortable coming to EIA.”

The EIA Ready programme was launched in spring last year to prepare for a return of travel demand.