After a running-in phase based on voluntary participation, screening is made compulsory at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, from this Saturday, August 1. The measure concerns travelers from Algeria and Turkey, two countries with high circulation of the virus.
While isolated cases of coronavirus infection are increasing in the Toulouse metropolitan area, the screening strategy is accelerating. After reimbursed access to the PCR test without a prescription, the government announced the establishment of mandatory tests for passengers from 16 countries: United States, South Africa, Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, India, Israel, Kuwait, Madagascar, Oman, Panama , Peru, Qatar, Serbia and Turkey. A list established according to the extent of the epidemic in each of these countries.
“We know that in a certain number of these countries, there is no screening strategy and that therefore, access to tests is difficult, as a result of which we have decided to generalize tests on arrival”, Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a trip to Roissy, specifying that positive cases will be placed in fourteen. In Toulouse, ARS and CHU coordinate the operation in partnership with the airport.
Avoid “imported” cases
Launched on July 16 at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, the tests were until then optional. This Saturday 1is August, they become mandatory. The objective: to prevent the arrival on French territory of people infected abroad, as was the case for the three current clusters in Haute-Garonne. “Travelers will have to present the results of a negative test carried out in the country of origin, or failing that, to be tested at the airport”, explains Professor Izopet, head of the virology department at the Toulouse University Hospital.
For the time being, the measure therefore applies to passengers newly disembarked from flights originating in Turkey and Algeria. These are, in fact, the only two destinations, among the 16 on the “red list”, to have a direct connection with Toulouse airport. “We have trained the medical team at the airport, but also the Red Cross and Civil Protection to carry out PCR samples which are transported directly to the CHU to be analyzed in less than 24 hours”, specifies the infectious disease specialist. The traveler is thus informed within the day following his arrival and isolated in the event of a positive test.
The border being closed with these two countries, the measure concerns only “French citizens who reside in these countries, or citizens of these countries who have a stable residence in France”, specified the Prime Minister. A similar protocol should be put in place in ports.