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Shock as police reveal Novichok suspects’ passed through Gatwick

At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588.

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It has been revealed today that the two suspects connected to the Salisbury attack arrived in the UK via Gatwick airport.

In a Statement by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing, in relation to the Salisbury and Amesbury Investigation, he said:

“It is likely that they were travelling under aliases and that these are not their real names. We would like to hear from anyone who knows them. We are releasing these photographs of them, from the travel documents they used to enter the country.

“We’d also like to hear from anyone who saw them while they were in the UK between Friday, 2 March and Sunday, 4 March. We are particularly interested in establishing as much as possible about their movements during the period 2pm to 4.30pm on Saturday, 3 March, and 11.30am to 2pm on Sunday, 4 March.

“At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588.

“From there it is believed that they travelled by train into London, arriving at Victoria station at approximately 5.40pm.

“They then travelled on London public transport to Waterloo station and were in the area between approximately 6pm and 7pm. They travelled to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, East London, where they stayed on Friday, 2 March, and Saturday, 3 March.”

Alexander Petrov

Ruslan Boshirov

A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said:

“Public Health England has confirmed that there are no health risks for passengers or airport workers at Gatwick related to the journey taken by the individuals involved in this incident.

This includes those passengers and staff who were at the airport on the day of the Aeroflot flight landing or in the subsequent period.

We are of course assisting the police as required.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said on hearing the news:

“UK Government confirmation that the Novichok nerve agent used by Russian agents to try and murder former spy and his daughter, the Skripals, in Salisbury last March, entered the UK via Gatwick is very disturbing.

That fact that my constituents’ who work at the airport could potentially have been exposed to such a deadly agent demonstrates the reckless contempt Putin’s government in Moscow has for ordinary people.

I’m grateful for being informed by the Prime Minister and I’ll be seeking how Crawley Borough Council intend to follow matters up further as local authority responsible for port health in law.”

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury city centre at 4.15pm on Sunday, 4 March, after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent.

Both Sergei and Yulia spent weeks critically ill in hospital but are now making a good recovery.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police officer, was also seriously ill after being exposed to the nerve agent. He continues to make good progress but remains off work.

Tragically 44-year-old mother of three, Dawn Sturgess died in hospital on Saturday, 8 July. She fell ill on 30 June after being exposed to Novichok and she never regained consciousness. Her partner, 48-year-old Charlie Rowley, was also exposed to the nerve agent and became seriously ill later that day. He received treatment at Salisbury District Hospital over three weeks.

Gatwick

New COVID-19 screening service launches at Gatwick Airport

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Gatwick Airport andExpressTest (a division of Cignpost Diagnostics Limited) has today announced the opening of a brand-new COVID-19 screening centre. 

The site, located within the airport’s Long Stay Car Park at the South Terminal, will offer a fast and accurate and lab-analysed PCR swab test.  It will be available for both passengers, employees based at Gatwick and the general public, including local residents, from Monday, 30th November.  

The facility is for air passengers who may require a valid, negative COVID-19 test certificate for destinations requiring one from up to 96 hours before travel, with passengers needing to check with travel providers that the test meets the specific requirements destinations ask for. 

It will also help those who may simply want extra assurance that they are not currently carrying the virus. 

The facility could also, with any necessary amendments, satisfy requirements of the Government’s expected “test and release” post arrival scheme allowing air passengers to reduce quarantine time required after travelling back from certain destinations.  Anyone with recognisable COVID-19 symptoms will still need to use an NHS testing facility. 

Air passengers and any employees based at Gatwick Airport will be charged a subsidised rate of £60 to use the screening service, whilst it will also be available for the general public for £99. 

A group discount is also offered, with up to 30% off for groups of four or more, for those who are having the full priced test.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is a priority for us alongside giving confidence to so many people who have missed travelling during this difficult year.  Our new screening facility is also a convenient service to offer people in the region looking for extra reassurance.  We are pleased to be subsidising the price for our passengers and any staff based at Gatwick so they are compliant with current destination requirements that many of airlines including easyJet, British Airways and TUI fly to.

“Our industry has been decimated by the pandemic and, while we welcome the anticipated  “test and release” scheme from the Government, we want to see an internationally agreed pre-departure testing regime, based on existing risk criteria, to replace the current uncertainty of quarantine and patchwork of testing approaches which currently exists across Europe.  A truly international approach would safely open up most of the UK’s travel routes abroad, while also helping to reduce transmission of the virus.”

ExpressTest Founder Nick Markham said:

“We are delighted to be Gatwick airport’s official screening partner.  We launched ExpressTest to give people peace of mind, whether that’s enabling

travel through our Fit to Fly certificates, or providing the reassurance needed to safely visit friends and family abroad or within the UK.  In the next couple of months we aim to have more than 30 locations operating across the UK, with the ambition of giving the British public the confidence to go about their daily lives in these uncertain times.” 

According to a press release, ExpressTest is delivered using the latest gold standard PCR equipment that is fully CE-IVD certified and manufactured to the highest possible standards, and tests are carried out by specially trained screening practitioners.  

The lab-analysed test results will be emailed or texted to customers typically the next day, with airline passengers advised to schedule a test 48-96 hours prior to their departure time, as a precaution.  Those who screen negative will be emailed a Fit to Fly certificate that is authorised by a doctor, along with their test result, however passengers will be responsible for checking with their travel provider as to whether this document is accepted before booking the screening service. 

Bookings open from Friday, 27th November, with the first test available on Monday, 30th November.

To book a test, people will need to visit www.expresstest.co.uk and select a date and time.  Customers will then be sent a QR code which they must bring with them to their appointment, along with their passport or employee ID. 

Payment will be taken during the booking process. 

Opening hours are 08.00 to 20.00 and customers are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to appointments.

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