Rio introduces tighter airport screening

RIO Tinto is conducting rapid screening trials at Perth Airport to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
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Social distancing at Perth Airport

Staff reporter

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Fly-in, fly-out workers were already subject to questionnaires and temperature checks before boarding flights, but Rio has increased screening measures.

As part of a five-layered screening process, workers will also have a face-to-face assessment with a nurse at the airport and have a finger pinprick blood test.

The pinprick is not a test for COVID-19, but can detect viral-related antibodies in the person's blood.

The detection of any viral-related antibodies requires the individual to self-isolate as a precaution and seek prompt testing at an approved clinic.

Those cleared will receive an access band allowing them to board their flight.

All employees and contractors working at the company's iron ore operations, as well as in the Operations Centre at Perth Airport, will be subject to rapid screening.

"Our number one priority through this period is to protect the health of our employees and communities where we operate," Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said.

"We believe the introduction of rapid screening adds another layer of control to help prevent the transmission of the virus in WA.

"We are very confident in the veracity of our screening process which we strongly believe is an important tool to reduce risk for our communities and our people.

"This not only allows us to continue operating safely, which is important for the more than 12,000 people we employ, but it also enables us to continue making a strong contribution to the state's economy."