The last on-site COVID-19 testing clinic at a major Australian airport is closing its doors.
The Histopath clinic at Sydney Airport, which has swabbed more than 500,000 passengers since it opened in December 2020, ceased operations on Tuesday after demand slowed to a trickle.
The clinic’s busiest period was in the 2022 Easter holiday rush, which saw almost 60,000 tests performed over the month of April, but following the end of most testing requirements by airlines and destination countries, particularly China, only “a handful” of people are now needing testing on some days.
“The testing clinic played a vital role in bringing air travel back and we are grateful to Histopath for providing this essential service for last two and a half years,” said Sidone Thomas, chief operations officer at Sydney Airport.
“With restrictions and testing requirements now all but gone, confidence in travel is strong again. Our T1 international terminal is humming with passenger numbers now edging closer to pre-pandemic levels.”
According to the director of strategic operations at Histopath Diagnostic Services, Greg Granger, testing was vital during international border closures and stringent travel restrictions.
“No one was able to escape these strict rules – Royalty, Presidents and Prime Ministers from many nations, international sporting teams, and Hollywood superstars – all of them met with the same mandated requirements to enable them entry and were tested by our staff,” he said.
“At our peak we had over 40 nurses, laboratory staff and liaisons manning the clinic daily and I want to thank them for their dedicated service. We would also like to thank the passengers and airlines that have used our service, and Sydney Airport for ensuring that the barriers to travel were addressed for the community.”
Sydney’s Histopath clinic was the last on-site COVID-19 testing centre at a major Australian gateway, following the closure of Brisbane’s Histopath and 4Cyte clinics last month. While there remains a testing clinic near Adelaide Airport, run by Australian Clinical Labs, it is not located inside the terminals.