To assist travelers in cruising safely, a new Covid-19 testing center has opened near the port of Portsmouth.
The facility will conduct quick lateral flow antigen tests for up to 12,000 passengers on the Virgin Voyages ship Scarlet Lady, which is scheduled to sail later this month.
Passengers traveling with Virgin Voyages must have two Covid vaccines and agree to a negative antigen test before boarding.
The new testing facility is housed in two fully equipped marquees that can be reached via Covid’s secure shuttle bus from the port’s parking lot.
Travelers must check in and show their vaccination status via the NHS app or vaccination card, as well as walk through a testing booth when they arrive. Passengers receive their results 20 minutes later via email, verifying whether they can check-in and board the cruise.
The testing site is administered by independent medical service provider NPH Group, whose chief executive Mark Philpott (shown center) said: “This not only helps people to cruise in British waters again, but it also helps to support the cruise industry and open up more possibilities of international cruising, which was hit hard by the pandemic, and it will provide added revenues to one of our English ports.
“Our system ensures that travelers have a quick and smooth experience when going through the testing process near the port.”
Andrew Williamson, the passenger operations manager at Portsmouth International Port, added: “The safety of passengers and staff remains our priority, and we want journeys through our port to be as comfortable and easy as possible.
“Portsmouth was the first port in the UK to be independently verified by independent assessors DNV, who graded the new Covid-19 protocols against hospital-grade standards.
“We’re delighted to be working with NPH Group and Virgin Voyages on this dedicated testing facility which will ensure a smooth start for sailors boarding Scarlet Lady on the summer series of cruises from Portsmouth.”
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