Coronavirus: ‘Covidiots’ criticised on Tui quarantine flight

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BBC

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Nearly 200 passengers on a flight back from the Greek island of Zante have been told to self-isolate

A flight from Zante where nearly 200 people were told to self-isolate was a “debacle” with many travellers not wearing masks, a passenger has said.

Stephanie Whitfield told the BBC the Tui flight was full of “covidiots” and “inept crew who couldn’t care less”.

Seven people from three different parties are believed to have been potentially infectious on flight 6215 from the Greek island to Cardiff.

Tui said all the passengers had complied with Covid-19 protocols.

Public Health Wales (PHW) is telling the 193 passengers and crew who were on board the flight on 25 August to self-isolate for a fortnight.

The number of confirmed cases among passengers has now risen to 16, all of whom are believed to have been infected in Zante, PHW said.

Ms Whitfield told the BBC she and her husband had decided to self-isolate before they had even learned about the positive cases.

“This flight was a debacle. The chap next to me had his mask around his neck. Not only did the airline not pull him up on it, they gave him a free drink when he said he knew a member of the crew,” Ms Whitfield said.

“Loads of people were taking their masks off and wandering up and down the aisles to talk to others.

“As soon as the flight landed, a load of people took their masks off immediately. The flight was full of selfish ‘covidiots’ and an inept crew who couldn’t care less.”

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Stephanie Whitfield

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Stephanie Whitfield said she and her husband had decided to isolate for two weeks before learning about the positive cases

Ms Whitfield said she and her husband had sent off for a test and would return it as soon as possible.

“We’ve got a few symptoms, but we hope it’s a cold. We’ve had a bit of a cough, a sore throat, a headache.

“I’m angry more than anything.”

Tui said all passengers complied with Covid protocols “for the duration of their flight”, including wearing face masks.

The travel operator added their aircraft had a “state-of-the-art, hospital standard air filtering system”, were deep-cleaned after every flight and “fully disinfected at least once every 24 hours” in accordance with European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines.

“The safety and well-being of passengers and crew is our highest priority and we operate in line with EASA guidelines,” said a Tui spokesperson.

Dr Giri Shankar, PHW’s Covid-19 incident director, told BBC Breakfast that public health officials initially identified seven people who had tested positive and were potentially infectious on the flight.

He said since they began alerting passengers, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 16, all of whom are believed to have become infected in Zante.

He said that any of the 187 passengers and six crew on board the three-and-a-half hour flight from Zakynthos to Cardiff Airport on Tuesday that had symptoms “should book a test without delay”.

It comes as a group of people from Plymouth tested positive for the virus after returning from Zante last Monday.

There were 1,715 new coronavirus cases – and one death – reported in the UK on Sunday – the highest number of daily infections recorded since 4 June.

Cardiff Airport, which is owned by the Welsh Government, said it was working closely with airlines to “facilitate passenger travel throughout this challenging time for the industry”.

“Tui is taking every necessary measure following today’s report”, said Spencer Birns, Cardiff Airport’s interim chief executive.

“Cardiff Airport is closely following guidelines set out by Public Health Wales, FCO and UK Government and has already taken a number of measures to ensure the safety and security of our team and customers, which is our number one priority.”

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