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Virgin Voyages chooses Newcastle company to test for Covid-19 aboard its new vessels

Newcastle-based occupational health and wellbeing business, NPH Group, has won a contract to supply onsite and offsite COVID-19 testing services to Virgin Voyages, ahead of the launch of its two new vessels, Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady, into UK and Mediterranean waters.

The partnership will see NPH Group elevate the safety of cruises from Portsmouth, Tilbury, and Liverpool between March and May 2022, including the final departure heading to Barcelona and Athens, where the new vessels will anchor in Europe.

There will be around 22,000 Sailors aboard the vessel and they will all be able to utilise NPH Group’s postal and supervised self-testing kits and mobile technology to reduce the risk of contracting Covid and becoming unwell while onboard or bringing the virus home upon their return.

CEO of NPH Group, Mark Philpott said: “It’s fantastic to see Virgin Voyages truly put health and wellbeing first. It’s what we strive to work toward with all of our partners.

“Despite the end of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK, the virus is still present, and I don’t think anyone wants to see another surge in cases. The onus to keep people safe is now in the hands of businesses and individuals.

“Our goal remains to be a partner that assists in keeping everyone safe. It will hopefully help ease passenger worries knowing that all aboard have been tested so they are safe and able to enjoy an amazing holiday.”

This is the second time Virgin Voyages has chosen NPH Group to provide its testing services. In 2021, NPH Group was contracted to supply rapid lateral flow tests to a site near Portsmouth International Port, which allowed passengers boarding Virgin Voyages’ owned ship, the Scarlet Lady.

Michelle Bentubo, senior vice president of people, culture and travel operations at Virgin Voyages, said: “NPH has been a trusted partner of ours since going into operation and we’re thankful for the team’s expertise and diligence.

“The health and wellbeing of our Sailors and Crew will always be our top priority and working with NPH is an important element.”

NPH Group was established in 2013 as an occupational health business, delivering services like health screening and surveillance to a range of businesses to maintain and monitor employee wellbeing.

Recognising the increased need for Covid-19 testing during the pandemic, NPH Group joined forces with the likes of MDNA Life Sciences and BHA Medical to supply an end-to-end Covid-19 testing model which was quickly adopted by major airports including Newcastle International and Leeds Bradford.

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Mark Philpott - CEO at NPH Group

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NPH Group is a leading provider of independent medical services in the North East of England. Its services include Covid-19 testing, General Practice consultations, travel advice and immunisations, occupational health assessments, medical screening, and work specific medical assessments for pilots, divers, seafarers and offshore workers. Virgin Voyages is a luxury cruise line developed as a joint venture between Virgin and Bain Capital. Virgin Voyages have a host of vessels which include The Scarlet Lady, The Resilient Lady and The Valiant Lady. The cruises sail to international destinations like The Caribbean, Europe and The Mediterranean, while providing fine dining experiences, wellness spaces and a range of entertainment for passengers on board.

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Eve Daly

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McBryde & Co

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