It will be another six to eight weeks before passengers returning from red zones will be able to be tested at Charleroi Airport (BSCA), according to Jean-Luc Crucke, Walloon minister in charge of Airports.
"Following various contacts between my office, the office of the Minister of Health, the AVIQ (Agency for Quality of Life) and the Governor of the Province of Hainaut, it was decided to set up a Covid-19 testing device for travellers returning from a red zone," Crucke said in the regional parliament on Monday.
A public procurement will be launched in the coming days by Charleroi Airport. "Then, it will take six to eight weeks to implement a centre because of the logistical aspects and the recruitment of medical staff," he added.
This centre should be installed in the baggage reclaim room and will only target passengers returning from red travel zones, which would be roughly 500 to 1,000 people per day, reports the Belga press agency.
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"Belgian passengers who wish to take a test on-site will be able to do so, but in accordance with the decisions taken by the National Security Council, they will not be obliged to do so at the airport and will be able to wait for their return home," Crucke said.
"Therefore, I think it is useful to specify that, as things stand at present, passengers cannot be required to undergo an immediate test on-site," he added.
As is the case for the centre at Brussels Airport, it is assumed that the cost of the test will be covered by insurance for passengers returning from a red zone, who are therefore obliged to be tested, Crucke said.
Additionally, the implementation of such a testing centre is not currently planned at Liège airport, because TUI - the only operator active in passenger transport there - decided to stop its flights to or from destinations in the red zone.
The Brussels Times