ISRAEL. Omega – Institute for Modern Learning, in cooperation with Rambam Hospital, has won the tender to conduct PCR tests and operate a COVID-19 laboratory at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport. The initial contract runs for three years, with a two-year extension option.

The two Israeli organisations will collaborate to set up the testing system and laboratory within 45 days. The laboratory will be established in the new Concourse E, where the tests will be analysed in accordance with the Israel Ministry of Health’s testing protocol.

Also being established as part of the contract is a ‘drive-in’ COVID-19 testing area next to Terminal 3 for travellers leaving the country. Passengers will be tested directly from their vehicles, arriving for the tests at least 72 hours before their flights.

Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport will have its new COVID-19 testing facilities up and running within 45 days (Image: The Times of Israel)

Omega has also undertaken to set up an applicative and computerised management system for the booking of appointments to perform the tests and issue a “Medical Passport” to the tested passenger in Hebrew and English, or any other language required.

The PCR testing service will be provided at a cost of NIS44.88 (US$13.40) per passenger. Passengers entering Israel through Ben Gurion will have their results returned to them within 14 hours, keeping quarantine time to a minimum. This can be further shortened with a fast track service, with a four-hour turnaround time at a cost of NIS134.64 (US$40.15).

Israel Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Brigadier General (Res.) Miri Regev said: “The establishment of the COVID-19 virus laboratories at Ben Gurion International Airport is a critical step in opening the skies. We insisted that the test price per passenger be cheap, accessible and available; I am glad that the test price is discounted in an unprecedented way.

The establishment of COVID-19 testing services is a major step towards getting Ben Gurion International thriving again after its traffic was decimated by the pandemic

“I instructed the officials of the Israel Airports Authority to expedite as much as possible the procedures for setting up the laboratory and in the meantime, we are getting the backing from the health system. I congratulate the members of the Israel Airports Authority for their activity in carrying out the tender quickly for the benefit of the passengers.”

The tender winning team also has the possibility of extending similar services to Ramon International Airport and to all border crossings that are managed by the Israel Airports Authority.

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