Geraldton airport random testing regime

Geraldton Guardian
This tent at Geraldton airport is used to test FIFO workers for coronavirus infection.
Camera IconThis tent at Geraldton airport is used to test FIFO workers for coronavirus infection. Credit: City of Greater Geraldton/Supplied

The City of Greater Geraldton reports increased activity at Geraldton airport despite fewer passengers travelling through the Geraldton Airport during the current health crisis.

Rio Tinto has expanded health screening of FIFO workers as part of the company’s participation in the DETECT program, a WA-based population study focused on testing targeted groups of people without COVID-19 symptoms.

A large 25 x 20m marquee now stands in the short term carpark for the service which is a joint initiative of the Department of Health and the WA research community.

The rapid screening process includes an online and face-to-face health questionnaire, a temperature check and the rapid finger pinprick blood screen to detect viral-related antibodies, performed by a qualified nurse.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said he was pleased to see these measures for FIFO workers.

“We are in such unprecedented times at the moment and it’s great to see Rio Tinto come on board to implement such an important program,” he said.

“I’d also encourage anyone travelling in and out of the Geraldton Airport to ensure they have all necessary documentation, and have also downloaded the COVID-19 app.”

Rio Tinto chief executive of iron ore business Chris Salisbury said the company’s priority was to protect the health of employees and communities where they operate.

“The broader roll-out of our layered screening process to regional airports such as Geraldton and Albany will allow us to continue operating safely and, importantly, making a strong contribution to Western Australian communities,” he said.

With border restrictions still in place, there are a number of checkpoints for travellers coming in and out of Geraldton.

There will also be some changes at the airport from November as part of a national safety improvement program.

A City spokeswoman quoted Airservices Australia advice of changes to “approach procedures” for some aircraft landing at Geraldton.

“Moonyoonooka, East Chapman, Narra Tarra, Yetna and Nanson residents may notice a small visual change to the way aircraft arrive the airport, however there will be no noticeable change in noise levels,” she said.

Airservices Australia is a Commonwealth Government-owned corporation providing air navigation services.

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