Tampa International Airport in the US has decided to extend its voluntary on-site Covid-19 testing programme to the end of this year.

Initially, the pilot programme, which began on 1 October, was set to conclude at the end of this month. Now, the programme will resume again on 2 November.

Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano said: “Our travellers are extremely appreciative of this service and we are thrilled to expand it.

“We’re doing everything we can to make travel safe and to help our passengers feel comfortable when they fly through Tampa International Airport.”

Located at the airport’s Main Terminal, the testing site offers two types of FDA-approved Covid-19 tests (Polymerase Chain Reaction and rapid antigen) for all participating departing and arriving passengers.

During the pilot phase, the airport registered an average of 130 to 140 passenger tests per day.

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Overall, the site has completed more than 3,000 passenger tests this month.

Tampa Airport launched the pilot in collaboration with BayCare Health System. During the extension, BayCare will hire additional staff in a bid to reduce potential wait times.

BayCare Health System executive vice-president and chief medical officer Nishant Anand said: “We’re pleased to continue working with TPA to provide Covid-19 testing to passengers through the end of the year.

“As we head into the holiday season, testing for Covid can help make travelling safer and mitigate the spread of the virus in airports and during flights.”

The testing site will be open on all days with the exception of 1 November, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.